Merry Christmas

Push the pause button; enjoy what you have; thank God and mean it

2016 (MMXVI) – our current year, a leap year at that! The 2016th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 16th year of the third millennium, the 16th year of the 21st century, and the 7th year of the 2010s decade.

The year began with huge change: our newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was now in office.

Jan. 28 – The World Health Organization announces an outbreak of the Zika virus.

Feb. 7 – North Korea launches a long-range rocket into space, violating multiple UN treaties.

March 22 – Three co-ordinated bombings in Brussels, Belgium kill at least 32 and injure some 250. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claim responsibility for the attacks.

March 27 – A suicide blast in a park in Lahore, Pakistan kills 75 people and injures around 340 others with a militant Sunni Islamic organization claiming responsibility for targeting Christians celebrating Easter.

May 19 – EgyptAir Flight 804 crashes with 66 people on board over the Mediterranean en route from Paris to Cairo.

June 23 – BREXIT … The United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union.

June 28 – ISIL claims responsibility for attacking Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, killing 45 and injuring around 230.

Aug. 5-21 – The 2016 Summer Olympics are held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Nov. 9 – Donald Trump is declared President Elect of the United States of America.

Quite a year eh?

Our world is a noisy place. From family to office, to radio and podcasts en route in between, the air vibrates with relentless mind-numbing chatter.

In a year that saw everything from mass murder, to horrific war, to random individual attacks in our own schools, to strides made in science and space, to debates over human rights and responsibilities, I urge us all to ‘Come back home for Christmas.’

By that I mean a return to quiet. To peace. It’s a coming back to decency, morality, and a return to Norman Rockwell values and the ‘true north’ on our spiritual compass.

Let’s push pause on our busyness this Christmas, look around and cultivate genuine thankfulness for what we have.

We take too much for granted don’t we?

How about the freedom fought for by our parents and grandparents, the air we breathe as we sleep, the measure of health we enjoy, our family – even if it’s as weird and dysfunctional as everybody else’s?

Perhaps, if nothing else, Christmas is a time to pull back, sit down, and sip some apple cider with one of those little cinnamon sticks in it … and take a deep breath.

Tell someone you love them. Look at a Nativity. Tell God “thank you” and mean it.

And then add a “Merry Christmas” to those you meet along the way.

Rick Barker is the Cariboo Christian Life Fellowship church.