Christmas is a wonderful time of year. A time to gather with family and friends, look back with gratitude and look forward with hope.
When you sit down to your Christmas dinner of mashed potatoes and turkey, or whatever it may be, take the time to think of those less fortunate and give thanks for what we have. Let us personally reach out to that neighbor who needs a helping hand or a word of encouragement. It may be just the gift someone needs most.
If the holidays are a time for giving, let’s give without expecting something in return. With so many people unemployed, some homeless, we cannot afford to sit back and do nothing. Even the smallest deeds, such as visiting a lonely senior citizen over the holidays or providing a meal for a needy family goes a long way.
During incredibly challenging times many choose to complain bitterly about the economy, others respond with fear and try to hide from the world as much as they can. These days it’s so easy to get down. The drop in the price of oil, ongoing low prices for natural gas, growing government debt, endless government borrowing, loss of employment and the loss of the Alberta Advantage.
The days are dark, but there is light in darkness.
For example; the Fort McMurray Wildfire triggered the largest financial response in Canadian History. There was instant, unfettered generosity given by thousands of Albertans; offering money, food, clothing, fuel and child care. In spite of tragedy and anguish, there was tremendous, inspiring selfless acts of heroism, generosity and kindness. Charity and good will extended even from those who had very little themselves, such as a 17 year-old cashier who decided to pay for an evacuee’s grocery bill.
As 2016 draws to a close, please take the time to remember the many that face the season with heartache. Some have lost a job. Some have been out of work for a very long time. Some have lost a loved one.
In all, I pray that they find encouragement and hope this holiday season. Let us all make a special effort to reach out to these families, to support local charities as they provide for the needs of the vulnerable. If all of us decided to do what we could to try to make a difference in someone’s life, our province would be a far better place. Love is the key to emerging from societal darkness.
On behalf of myself, my wife Donna Marie and my constituency staff, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and offer you best wishes for a Happy New Year.
Ron Orr is the MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka