Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Cont'd

I don't let go of Christmas easily. Always keep the decorations up until Epiphany. So as the festivities continue and we get ready for the New Year, I thought you might enjoy this 30 second video that my brother and sister in law created. Elapsed time photos of building their gingerbread house. It's both fun and festive. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

It was just over 10 years ago at a university Christmas party when it struck me as odd when a friend of mine wished me happy holidays. I questioned, "Don't you mean Merry Christmas?"
"No, I mean Happy Holidays" she replied. I left the conversation perplexed and ever since I've been intensely aware of the 'war on Christmas.' Some years I've let myself get quite worked up about it. This year seems strangely different.

Now I find the ridiculous and supposedly inoffensive greetings that companies and "progressively" minded individuals simply humourous in a sad and pathetic kind of way. In a way the fact that Christmas is out of favour among progressive types makes saying Merry Christmas that much more powerful because it really means something. It's a thrill to see faces light up when you say the simple phrase. For me it's a thrill just to say it. It's a statement of Faith and that's powerful in itself that reminds us we are created beings who are loved and supported by our God who was willing to come to Earth, become human, sacrifice himself and rise again. So . .

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Please Bishops Don't Let H1N1 Dampen Christmas Celebrations

The dust is finally settling after the massive H1N1 overreaction.

Unfortunately not all of the effects are over. In my diocese (Hamilton) the Bishop's are still advising Catholics not to shake hands at Mass and I've heard stories from friends in Toronto that holy water has been removed from the entrance ways in churches.

I never liked this decision from the start, but now it's time for our worship to return to normal. It appears that everyone at a church service will have either received a flu shot or knowingly decided against it and accepted any associated risks.

Bishops, Please as Christmas approaches let us enjoy our worship to the fullest including by blessing ourselves, shaking hands, and receiving the sacraments in the method we're most comfortable.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Effective Diplomacy with China

Opposition leaders were quick to argue that the Chinese Premier's statement that Stephen Harper should have visited China earlier somehow weakens our country and our Prime Minister. Poppycock. In advance of the visit, China finally lifted a partial ban on Canadian Pork products and today Canada is on a list of approved travel destinations for Chinese citizens. John Ibbitson summarized the event as follows:
In sum, the agreement represents a significant breakthrough in relations between the two countries. But Mr. Wen was clearly not willing to let the occasion pass without expressing his displeasure at the Conservative government's previously chilly approach to the Middle Kingdom.
It seems to me Harper has successfully strengthened the trading relationship with China while staying true to his convictions and standing up for human rights. Premier Wen's comments show that Harper's efforts to signal displeasure with the lack of freedom in China have clearly had an impact on his hosts and have therefore been worth the effort.

Today Stephen Harper has demonstrated that our country can strike a balance between staying true to Canadian principles and building economic opportunities. Congratulations are in order.