Tag Archives: Canada Day

What is special for you about Canada Day?

My special needs granddaughter asked me if I was preaching at a church on Canada Day, which is also her birthday. When I answered yes, she asked, “Will you talk about Canada Day?”

“Well, yes,” I answered. Then I asked, “What is special for you about Canada Day?”

Without even taking a breath, she said, “I was born.”

Wisdom, I thought. She knows, with a sure and certain confidence, that her birth, her being brings joy and love to the world. She is God’s gift to us. Just as each one of us is God’s gift. The difference is that we don’t all know it, or are afraid to believe that we too are God’s precious gifts.

The best lesson my grand-daughter has given me is a much fuller understanding of God’s unconditional love. She teaches that lesson in so many ways. I learned it yet again last Saturday at the Special Olympics Track and Field meet in Pickering. Once again, I was amazed to experience a world in which judgment is suspended. Of course, these are competitive events, but the competition is different. The emphasis is not on being better than someone else. The emphasis is on improving your personal best. And even more important is that you exist, you are there, you are trying. As each person steps up to the throwing circle in the shot-put competition, he or she is cheered, not just by family and friends, but by everyone, including the other competitors. Whatever each does, words of encouragement follow. In this Special Olympics world the watchwords are, “Good job. Well done. Way to go,” words genuinely offered and excitedly received.

We cheered whether the shot put flew two feet or ten feet. We cheered when the first athlete, the second, the third, through to the last athlete, our grand-daughter, crossed the finish line of the fifty-meter sprint. All were congratulated for their effort given. Many of those cheering spectators didn’t know that for our granddaughter to walk that fifty meters without a companion to keep her balanced took tremendous courage. Still they yelled, “Way to go. Good job.” When her foot stepped over that line my eyes filled with tears.

I’m proud that our Canada is a part of the Special Olympics program. I’m proud of our granddaughter. By being who she is, I am challenged to live that Special Olympics attitude in my everyday relationships. She has taught me to focus on what is and let go of what isn’t. Our faith tells us that each person is God’s precious child. Our country Canada is populated with people of many races, colors, creeds, shapes, ages and capabilities. In Canada I can live respect, and love for each one of themm. On Canada Day, I give thanks that God and Canadians love diversity.

Three ways to strengthen your Canada Day celebrations.

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Our family has a fabulous Canada Day tradition. We gather at my son’s to celebrate our oldest grandchild’s birthday. A Canada Day baby she has been our angel since her birth. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our amazing country, than to gather with family to laugh, and play, eat and share, and enjoy the fireworks. When Vanessa was little I’m sure she thought those sparkling lights in the sky were just for her.

Beautiful
Beautiful

Canadians are not particularly openly patriotic, although some of us do fly a Canadian flag in our yard. When we travel to another country we purchase flag lapel pins to give away, or bring along our T-shirt with a moose wearing a tiny Canadian flag. We’re proud to be Canadian but we see no reason to flaunt the fact.

Safe to have fun.
Safe to have fun.

Canada isn’t perfect for sure. Still we know we are blessed to be Canadian citizens. Every time I travel beyond our borders, my love for Canada is reinforced. In my travel’s have seen beautiful countries. I have enjoyed wonderful people. And when I step off the plane onto Canadian soil, I feel the urge to pat the ground, even give it a kiss. I am always glad to return home.

This year do more than enjoy the fireworks. Use your Canada Day celebrations to:

  1. List the wonderful things that make our country special. Set aside your complaints and criticisms. Forget about being humble. Write them down and soak them in.
  2. Make appreciating Canada a family project. Make a collage with pictures and words to illustrate the beauty of Canada and our citizens. Get everyone’s input – children, parents, grandparents, friends. Hang your collage on the fridge or frame it for your wall.
  3. Give God thanks for our nation. Ask God to give our leaders wisdom and strength. Tell God you want to be a blessing for Canada and her peoples.

This year, make a commitment to be the best Canadian citizen you can be.

Being Canadian – a Privilege or a Responsibility?

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Every year on Canada Day, we gather family and friends to celebrate the birthday of our oldest grandchild, Vanessa. We laugh and talk, swim in their pool, eat too much, and enjoy the fireworks in the evening. It’s a peaceful time. We know we’re blessed with a wonderful family and in my mind, with being citizens of the best country in the world.

Always the horror, violence, war that comes through the news media seeps into my mind and reminds me that the peace of our Canadian nation is fragile. On June 19, our neighbours to the south were once again struck with the brutality that comes with festering hatred. A young man, just 21, is accused of sitting for an hour in that historic church in Charleston while the people prayed, then opening fire on the innocent people around him,. The story brings tears to my heart. Peace is built on love and acceptance, not hatred and violence.

We would like to think that such horror could not happen in our precious Canada, yet we know that racial prejudice lurks beneath the surface of our calm Canadian veneer. Stories of racial profiling by police, the disappearance of First Nations women, fear of Muslims and more fill our newspapers. More and more people seem to have access to guns, even here in Canada.

Canada Day is a time to make a renewed commitment to the love and acceptance of all people. To follow the “Way of Christ” is to love God and love one another. It is our calling to live and to teach that all people, regardless of race, gender, whatever differences, all people are God’s beloved children. If we fail to live and teach this basic value, the peace and joy of our great land will disintegrate. Living in love and peace is a privilege that entails responsibility.

A friend sent me the following link to an article written by Rev. Christy Thomas of Denton, Texas, in response to the African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting. The article discusses five factors that create hate. It’s worth taking the time to read it.

http://um-insight.net/perspectives/christy-thomas/five-factors-that-create/

 

“For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.”

(I John 3:11)