Xmas Eve letter to VN Members..

a writing by Denis Barter

Christmas Eve and we rose at 6.15 am and awoke to see another fall of snow! Christmas is going to be white alright, but I fear some who left their travelling to spend Christmas Day with family or friends, until the last possible moment, are going to find it a bad day for travelling. More so the further north they have to go! The more southerly routes will most likely be little more than wet, as our temperatures hover just above or below the freezing mark, depending upon location. It had been forecasted by our weather experts, but the amount that has fallen, is more than expected. Around three inches for us, and more falls even as I write.

A short message to wish you and your family, friends and loved ones, along with those you know only from contact on the Internet, be they pen pals, members of your same, shared communities or whomsoever? A Very Happy and Peaceful Christmas. Despite all the trouble seen and reported in the world today - are there any places not in turmoil or conflict? Few enough it seems, and one wonders what the New Year, a mere week away, will bring?

Living here in South Eastern Ontario, as we do, we feel reasonably safe and secure, but know full well, no one in these times of unrest and conflict, is immune to such threats! Our lives could change in an instance! It is at such times as this, that I for one, give thanks to all those men and women who spend Christmas on high alert duty, ensuring that the majority of us, can relax and enjoy the festivities.

Whether or not we are ‘Believers’ of Christmas, matters not! Surely the spirit that permeates this festive system, is pertinent to all, no matter what their religious beliefs? The rationale behind Christmas is not so much that of Religion per se, but a time for all of us to enjoy and give thanks for our being alive and living our lives in our own chosen manner.

What concerns me, more than anything else, is that I know of no dogma or Faith, that preaches violence or harm to persuade others, that “theirs’ is the one true Faith. So why in this age, when there is so much to enjoy in life, do we see such people - supposedly “radicalised” - who then go out into the world, determined to persuade others their belief is the way to go, by creating death, destruction and mayhem?

When someone commits suicide, and kills many innocent bystanders with their action, it has to be one of the most pointless actions one can implement! With their ‘killings’ they defeat the whole purpose of persuasion! I cannot see that this is a rational, or logical way to persuade others to swell their ranks! That it is a sin, and goes against all teachings, is also another matter, and pointless as well! That it takes the lives of innocents from all walks of life, including the most innocent of all - children, surely it must be considered - in any religion - as the most grievous sin of all!

During my almost ninety years of living, I have travelled to many countries around the world, and have frequently met and discussed Faith and Religion with advocates of many with “Beliefs” far different from mine, but never have I ever encountered a single one, who advocates ‘force’ - and certainly not by using suicidal tactics - as a means to garner more devotees! When one considers the outcome and effects of such practices, it has to be seen as a pointless contradiction!

As we celebrate Christmas, we should live in peace and respect one another, no matter their colour or creed, and show respect to all, and live in harmony, if we are to see the world return to calm where ALL can go about their daily lives without fear!

It has long been my belief that violence often brings about a converse reaction, inasmuch as it convinces most of us to harden our hearts towards those who think differently, which in turn begets more violence! What do such actions achieve? Nothing but the fostering of more hatred and violence as a backlash from the community on which it is unleashed, and the end result is that more innocents are affected!

Like a festering wound, that is constantly scratched and aggravated, such violent actions become more of a problem, until the underlying cause is found and cauterised! Then, and only then can healing take place.

Here’s hoping common sense and tolerance reign this Holiday Season. Wishing one and all, a most enjoyable time with your loved ones, wheresoever you live and whatsoever your Faith. .

That’s the way I see it on this auspicious occasion. Pauline and Denis aka Rhymer.

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