Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas challenge

Rob Bernshaw

Rob Bernshaw

Today is Christmas Eve in Alberta of 2012

For many people around the world Christmas is a holy time set aside to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, for others it is a time of making a list and checking it twice. For centuries these Christmas traditions (if that is an accurate description) take place in homes and communities all over planet earth and have become a household name in any language.

Even though this writer believes both ways of celebrating Christmas are an acceptable part and parcel of the season celebrated, also believes they are a catalyst for much more than a lot of us may realize during the rushing around and preparing for the celebrations at hand.

The job description of this writer's full time job entails being outside in subzero temperatures for extended periods of time in order to complete the tasks assigned.

On that note this writer had an experience recently that bears testimony to the fact that as human beings we are capable of  many great things that start with what may be considered as small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness towards our fellow human beings.

Recently during one of those extended periods of time on Saturday December 22, 2012 an anonymous passer by approached respectfully offering the greeting of Merry Christmas while presenting a fresh steaming cup of Hot Chocolate into this freezing writers hands. She went on to say that “you looked cold and I wanted to help in some small way.”

In this writer's eyes that one small act of thoughtfulness and kindness  reinforces what Christmas is all  about. Whether or not one believes in Jesus Christ or whether or not one believes in Santa Claus, it is about what we as part of the human race can offer to other fellow travelers along this journey called life.

There are other similar actions by anonymous individuals that all the readers of this column may have experienced in their journey and may also have performed similar acts of kindness themselves. It may not have been a hot chocolate, maybe it is warm clothing and boots presented to people without shoes for their feet or a hot meal for others without food to eat. How about comforting arms to ease ones grief at a time of loss?

Are we as aware as the anonymous individual that saw a need and immediately took steps to fulfill that need? We have many fine organizations in Canada and around the world that endeavor to take care of the needs of many individuals and are doing a great job. But what can we as individuals do as well? Can we become more aware of our neighbors, friends and relatives that may be too embarrassed to ask for help?: How would it feel if during our journey through life we were to take a look outside the box of our own individual world and become more aware of even the small acts of kindness that we could provide that would be of great benefit to the individuals being helped without any thoughts or request for anything in return.

The smile on the face of the receiver is enough of a return on investment for kindness provided.

As children learning and growing along our journey we have made lists out of the eyes of our childhood and as we progressed in our journey in the society of the day does our Christmas list include such acts of anonymous kindness offered to warm not only the body but the heart and soul of others out in the cold for whatever reason.

What a great Christmas gift would that be to a complete stranger whether homeless or not as there are a lot of people that are probably spending this Christmas time by themselves or working out in the cold as I was on Saturday December 22, 2012.

This writer would like to issue a challenge to all out there not only at this Christmas time but everyday to become more aware of others around us and take one small step towards a greater world and provide an anonymous gift of love to a complete stranger in order to see the brightness glow bright while shining the light for others to see a better way to the future.

As we complete our Christmas lists and at the end of Christmas day 2012 are we able to say we helped someone in need along their way?

Would one of the resolutions for the New Year  be to help a new stranger anonymously everyday in some small way? Think of the benefit not only to others but to how our spirits will be lifted as well.

In order to increase the light of others that have faded in their brightness along the way let us hope that we are all able to shine our light brighter every day in order to show a better way.

Here is wishing a respectful Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2013 to you and yours wherever you may be.


  1. Rob,
    Your message of kindness and sharing is much appreciated and thank you for the song by Amy, it was a joy to listen to.

    As one who is by nature a fighter at heart I learned a long time ago that one can stand firm in a fight against everything except kindness. Kindness really is the gift that keeps on giving.

    "Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."

  2. Thank you John, I am happy that the message of kindness has touched your heart and I appreciate the kind words you offer. I hope as well that this message will help kindle an awareness of others around us that we may not always see in our daily lives. I agree with you about the candles as it is very true. We need to light as many candles as we can with each of our candles and can you imagine the brightness with that many candles lighting up all over the world

  3. Anonymous25/12/12

    I thought your Amy Grant video was an excellent addition to your article. You did well to find and include it. Bruce Byer Edmonton

  4. Anonymous25/12/12

    Nice article Rob...The spirit of giving that you are speaking of here is needed now more than ever.....


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