(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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health has reported possible COVID-19 exposures at Glandford Middle School in Saanich on Feb. 8, 9, 10, 11 and 17. (Google Maps streetview)
Island Health reports COVID-19 exposures at Saanich middle school

Exposures occurred between Feb. 8 and 17 at Glanford Middle School

David Wighton is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as the winner of the Coaches Award. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Life-changing lessons shared after 55-year coaching career

David Wighton is the 2021 recipient of the Local Hero Coaches Award

Sooke Road was down to single lane alternating traffic after a motor vehicle incident Wednesday morning. (Google Maps)
UPDATED: Sooke Road reopen after motor vehicle incident

Emergency crews were on scene of Wednesday morning incident

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after a news conference at the legislature in Victoria on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. reports 559 new cases of COVID-19, one death

4,677 cases of the virus remain active in the province; 238 people are in hospital

Vancouver Canucks left wing Antoine Roussel (26) tries to get a shot past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks cough up 3-0 lead, fall 4-3 to visiting Edmonton Oilers

Vancouver falls to 8-13-2 on the NHL season

Jessica McCallum-Miller receives her signed oath of office from city chief administrative officer Heather Avison on Nov. 5, 2018 after being elected to Terrace City Council. McCallum-Miller resigned on Feb. 22, 2021, saying she felt unsupported and unheard by council. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace’s 1st Indigenous councillor resigns citing ‘systemic and internalized racism,’ sexism

McCallum-Miller said in a Facebook post she felt unheard and unsupported by council

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31.	(Pixabay photo)
Pubs, restaurants to pay wholesale prices on liquor permanently in COVID-recovery

Pre-pandemic, restaurateurs and tourism operators paid full retail price on most liquor purchases

Wade Dyck with Luna, a dog who went missing near the Chasm for 17 days following a rollover on Feb. 5. (Photo submitted).
Dog missing for 17 days through cold snap reunited with owner in northern B.C.

Family ecstatic to have the Pyrenees-Shepherd cross back home.

Quesnel RCMP confirmed they are investigating a residential break-in at a home on the Barkerville Highway. (File image)
Thieves make off with $300K in Cariboo miner’s retirement gold

Tim Klemen is offering a reward for the return of his gold

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Tribes COVID-19 death count hits four

Second doses of Pfizer vaccine expected on March 8 as community count hits 230 since Dec. 31

Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire. Image: The Canadian Press
Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell makes third attempt at bail on sex charges

Maxwell claims she will renounce her U.K. and French citizenships if freed

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Feds agree people with mental illness should have access to MAID — in 2 years

This is one of a number of changes to Bill C-7 proposed by the government

Most Read