Finding holiday spirit in tough times

Ready or not, another holiday season is upon us.

Whether you prefer a snowy wonderland on your Starbucks cup to the solid red, if you light a menorah or trim a tree, if you observe Eid or if you choose to not celebrate any holiday whatsoever, there’s no denying the onslaught of the season and the message it brings with it: joy, love, togetherness, harmony.

If you feel these prescribed feelings of merriment seem trite given the state of our world, you’re not alone.

There have been 353 mass shootings in the United States in 2015. That’s more than one a day.

There are mothers kissing their six-month-old babies in the morning and then massacring their husband’s coworkers, all in the name of a cause.

Elsewhere in the world, there are people being executed at rock concerts and on restaurant patios.

There are Doctors Without Borders hospitals being leveled.

There are millions of refugees seeking asylum and imbeciles proclaiming that we need to keep them out.

There are wars being fought that were created to line the pockets of a few individuals. But we’ll save that for another time.

Many of you will remember the sheer horror and disbelief you felt when the 1999 Columbine shooting happened.

Others will recall or at least have some knowledge of the École Polytechnique slaughter of 1989, a deliberate slaughter of 14 women.

Sadly, terrifyingly, school shootings are now commonplace in our neighbouring nation to the south.

It’s argued that gun control is the problem. We wouldn’t disagree that gun control is tremendously important. It’s startlingly easy to get a gun legally in the United States and just as easy to buy one illegally.

But for every 50 senseless mass murders in the US of A, there’s one in a peaceful place like Norway where few people own guns and a couple of years ago a man methodically stalked and killed 77 people on an island for a youth workers retreat.

The argument that disturbed individuals, radicalized extremists, lunatics with violent tendencies who want weapons will find a way to procure them is also a valid one. So what’s to be done?

How do we fix the very broken people who want to shoot dozens, murder en masse, and leave a trail of destruction?

And how do we soldier on living in a world that can feel like it’s spinning out of control at an alarming rate?

We approached this editorial hoping to talk about finding a way to write about the holiday season from a place of hope even given the state of our planet. We admit that is a daunting task.

Instead of a half-hearted message of holiday hope, we ask that you think of how you can channel your holiday spirit into helping someone in need.

We urge you to think of how you can transfer the worry and fear you may be feeling into action. If you wish for tighter gun controls, write letters to politicians.

If you want to help the cause of refugees, find out how you can volunteer, where you can donate time, money, clothing, and how you can advance the resettlement of those displaced.

If you’re afraid – and you probably are – find ways to redirect the fear into action and the holidays won’t risk feeling so…pointless.

Spend time with loved ones, if that’s what warms your heart. Offer your time to a shelter, if that will feed your soul.

Go to church, walk in the snow, cuddle your dog, and just approach this holiday season from a place of love and not blind consumerism. Nourish your soul instead of emptying your bank account. Offer time instead of things.

Above all, don’t forget to act from a place of humanity and kindness.

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season from all of us at Humber Et Cetera

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