Thanksgiving is the time in which we often reflect on what we're thankful for. Canada Day offers us the chance to celebrate all that we have in Canada.
But Christmas is also a time to give thanks for all that we have: our country, our freedoms, our family, our friends and our opportunities.
We live in Canada. Therefore, we have hit life's greatest jackpot: an opportunity to live in a country that generates envy among so many. We have opportunities, freedoms and systems that fuel the dreams of billions.
That's reason alone to be grateful at Christmas time.
We have the freedom to say “Merry Christmas.” We have the freedom to choose whether or not we celebrate Christmas. And for those who don't, well, they get a holiday anyways, or they get statutory pay if they're working.
Not many countries in the world afford their residents that opportunity.
Most of us have a decent job, with solid workplace labour standards and safety regulations. We have family and friends to see during the Christmas season, and a great meal on or around Christmas Day. We have a roof above us, and shelter to keep us warm during the frigid temperatures.
(Note: there is no reason to be thankful for the Arctic-esque temperatures that we have endured since early December. We'll be thankful when more seasonal temperatures arrive).
But there are those who won't be so festive in the next couple weeks. And we have to be mindful of them at this time of year.
And, thankfully, there are a lot of avenues to support them.
The deadline has unofficially passed to support the Community Hamper Association, but there will be a few late-coming hamper applications, so the association could still use some support. The association ensures that nearly 200 individuals and families will have a good Christmas meal this year.
The hamper association also operates the Angel Tree program, which has blossomed into one of the wonderful assets in Estevan. They ensure that so many families have a toy to give to each of their children.
The Estevan Salvation Army goes through its busiest time of year at Christmas. They're fundraising through their kettles and their mail-out campaign. They have set a very ambitious fundraising goal for the Christmas season. Support them by making a cash donation, by putting some change in the kettles, or by giving of your time.
For those who lack shelter, or a warm place to stay, during these frigid days, there's the Warm Welcome shelter program. The numbers aren't substantial, but it still offers a valuable service to the community.
People who have so much to be grateful for as Christmas approaches have a lot of opportunities to help others. Capitalize on those opportunities. Show other people that you care. Estevan residents have demonstrated their generosity time after time over the years.
Let's jump on as many opportunities as possible to share as December 25 approaches.