(Pixabay)

(Pixabay)

The Spirit of Christmas

Faith, children and giving combine to give meaning to the season

Try to define the Christmas spirit and it doesn’t take long to realize it’s no easy task.

“It’s a huge question and one with so many facets that it is nearly impossible to come up with a single definition,” said Bonnie Leadbeater, professor of psychology at the University of Victoria.

“There is the religious aspect, of course, with the Christian tradition of God giving his child to the world. It’s a theme of giving and altruism and it’s carried through even for those who are not followers of any religion.”

Other elements of the season combine to create a common community spirit, Leadbeater said.

“Even for the non-religious, there is a sacredness. Christmas lights drive out the darkness, not just from the night, but from the soul. We feel one with the lights, the music and the community,” she said.

“Its a time of reflection as well as we hang those old ornaments on the tree and recall our common experiences and those we miss from the past. It connects us from one generation to the next.”

RELATED: Ayre Manor hamper filled to the brim

Rick Eby, lead pastor at the Sooke Baptist Church, acknowledged Canada has become an increasingly secular nation but said that the story of the Christ child and the themes of sacrifice and redemption contained within that story still resonate with people.

While he ascribed his Christmas spirit to his faith, he said that Christmas provides the secular population with the chance to renew their faith in the goodness of the world.

“People have to believe that,” he said.

For Sooke councillor Al Beddows, Christmas is about all those things, but mostly, it’s about the children.

“Children are all good. The other day I went to watch my grandchildren at their school Christmas concert and it brought a tear to my eye,” said Beddows. “They are innocent and good, and watching them on stage, it made my heart glow.”

Beddows, an active community volunteer, added the glow he felt is undoubtedly shared throughout the community.

RELATED: Sooke food drive a massive success

“In Sooke, we feel the spirit of Christmas all year long,” said Kim Metzger, the president of the Sooke Food Bank.

“But at Christmas, it’s a time when people stop and reflect. We take stock of our lives and we think, ‘What can I do to help others?’”

She went on to recount how the service groups, schools and others in Sooke band together to spread the spirit to others.

“We have one family who annually donates to make sure every child, no matter what their situation, gets a toy. A few years ago they donated bikes. Last year it was 100 Lego sets and this year they’ve donated 100 art sets. They do it because no child should be left out at Christmas. That’s the Christmas spirit.”

The Christmas spirit has certainly touched Kristy Darling’s life.

Darling is a single mother of three who found herself facing an uncertain future in Sooke.

“My marriage ended and I was left alone and didn’t know anybody. But the people at the food bank took me aside and told me they had my back. Christmas can be a tough time when you don’t have much but I know that we’re going to be OK. They’ve helped me out with advent calendars and decorations, and I just got a gingerbread house and a cookie set. My heart is so full with the help and support I’ve been given,” said Darling.

She added that her children don’t entirely understand the situation, but they have learned about the Christmas spirit.

“My oldest is in Grade 3 and she got together some of her old toys and put them together to take to school and donate to other children. Understand that my kids get only one big gift and stocking stuffers, but they don’t want anyone else not to have a gift either. Maybe that’s what living in a community like Sooke does for you … it makes you think of others.”

So, though defining the Christmas spirit may be a daunting task, in Sooke at least, there’s no denying its existence. That spirit is there as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist in the world.

Perhaps it was best summed up by Dr. Suess when, in his own classic Christmas story, he wrote, “Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sooke RCMP seized cocaine, ketamine, MDMA, prescription pills, $6,000 cash, a machete and pepper spray during a bust June 15. (Courtesy of Sooke RCMP)
Sooke RCMP seize drugs, machete, pepper spray

Man arrested near Evergreen Centre following drug deal

Sooke Fire Rescue firefighters evacuate an injured hiker on Mount Manuel Quimper in March 2021. Sooke will soon be moving to a new fire dispatch service. (Facebook – Sooke Fire Rescue)
Proposed fire dispatch deal could save Sooke thousands of dollars

New dispatch needed after Langford drops out of CRD service

Alex Fiset and Cooper Oakes, both Grade 4, running to the finish, raising money for the ALS Society of B.C. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
John Muir students rally for ALS support

‘Hey ALS. Nobody likes you!’ the students yelled

BC Housing has brought in sanitation trailers to the former Mount Tolmie Hospital site so its current residents can access clean water, showers, sinks and toilets after a collapsed sewer pipe impacted water service to the building. (Google Streetview)
Mount Tolmie Hospital homelessness shelter using sanitation trailers after pipe collapse

Travelodge shelter residents faced intermittent hot water supply in late May, early June

Al Kowalko drives Sooke School District’s first electric bus that began operation in May. The board decided on June 15 that all future buses will be electric, asking the province for more funding to support the program. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Sooke school board agrees to make all future buses electric

Board to ask province to increase funding to cover the extra up front cost

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Most Read