With Christmas approaching

COLUMN: Time to welcome the light

With the winter solstice soon approaching, one reporter reflects on the recent displays of community generosity.

As we welcome the first official days of winter with the solstice on Sunday, December 21, let us rejoice in the fact that the diminishing hours of daylight will begin to lengthen once again.

Living in the shadows of Toad and Morning Mountain has me and  many others longing for direct sunlight.

Whether it be a Vitamin D deficiency or the secular side of me, I have wondered if all the Christmas lights, shiny ornaments and candlelight are in part due to the long nights just days ahead of the twenty-fifth. Pagan, Christian or commercial, either way, I am grateful for my neighbours efforts to spread some bright colour and light with grand illuminations of trees or a handmade wreath made of natural cedar bows and fir cones.

As for the sun staying above Morning Mountain five more minutes everyday, I say ‘hallelujah’!

With Christmas approaching the amount of giving can warm the heart. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers like the Nelson Business Association and the Nelson Ministerial Association who created two Christmas events for all to attend on Baker Street.

The first event was full of anticipation as a family-filled crowd had dozens of children balancing high on their parents’ shoulders awaiting Santa’s arrival. The energy was electric, magical and fully contagious.

Then last Friday, Christmas on Baker was all abuzz as students and choirs took to the stage in song, alongside a live nativity with actors portraying Mary and Joseph in a manger and a corral with alpacas, goats and a Shetland pony. The organizers said between stage and sound set-up, corral and manger construction, and the entertainers, 200 volunteers were involved.

The season of giving seems to be alive and well with financial donations too.

Businesses, schools and charity groups have been presenting their fundraising efforts in the form of cheques to various recipients. The list is long but one of many that stood out was the staff at Maglio Building Supply who decided to forgo their Christmas party in order to give $5,000 to the Nelson Food Cupboard.

The Nelson Food Cupboard was also the recipient of donations from Vince Devito’s Shoes [raised during customer appreciation day] and the Nelson Italian Canadian Society.

The students of the Recreational Leadership program and Global Perspectives 12  at L.V. Rogers held their fourth annual Christmas fundraiser with a pancake breakfast, silent auction, and bake sale with elaborately decorated pastries. All the proceeds went to Our Daily Bread and the Nelson & District Women’s Shelter.

It’s not just money that can be given. The South Nelson Elementary Grade 2 and 3 class sang carols at various businesses spreading cheer — including to this reporter who managed to catch up with them on their way to Oso Negro.

In thanks for taking their photo, 16 children sang all three verses of We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

How could I not sing along?

Another touching moment was witnessing James Hughes shed his decade-long dreadlocks to raise funds for his fellow Nelson Friendship Outreach Clubhouse member and former president Al Williamson, who has started leukemia treatment.

It was a poignant moment watching a young man lose five pounds worth of hair off of his neck to help shoulder some of his friend’s treatment costs not covered by BC Medical, raising $700 thus far.

Then there is the gift the Nelson Search and Rescue volunteers have given the Perello family: the valuable gift of a loved one’s presence.

Whether it be a grand gesture or a small one, even five minutes of your time, energy and effort served with compassion can make a thoughtful contribution.