Into the darkness of winter blazes Christmas—and along with it, the glowing lights of the season.
In Yorkton-Melville, the small community of Bredenbury lights up every year. Well-known as a frequent winner of the national Winter Lights competition for communities with a population of under a thousand, Bredenbury delights visitors with illuminated displays on businesses, houses, and even vacant lots.
Across the country, wintery capital cities join the Christmas Lights Across Canada program, in hopes of brightening an otherwise long and cold season. In Ottawa-Gatineau, more than 300,000 multi-coloured lights illuminate prominent landmarks along Confederation Boulevard, including Parliament Hill. Those lights will be on display until January 7, 2012.
But the lights that mean the most at Christmas look very different from the twinkly glass bulbs that cheer us all in the cold.
Only once since he was old enough to grow facial hair, has Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz shaved his moustache. But he shaved a couple of weeks ago, in support of the “Movember” movement which encourages men, not to shave, but to grow moustaches to raise money for the research of prostate cancer.
Already the owner of some pretty well-established – and highly recognizable facial hair, Mr. Ritz said he’d shave his moustache off, but only if people pledged at least $10,000 to entice him to do so.
His pledge resulted in almost $16,000 in donations to support prostate cancer research.
“We already know that Canadian farmers and processors deliver the best food to the world,” he said, “but now it’s clear that our agriculture industry has some of the best fundraisers too."
The Ritz moustache was ranked as the 20th largest individual fundraiser in Canada and 37th in the world.
“This small act is nothing compared to the sacrifice made every day by prostate cancer victims and their families," the Minister said.
Those who donated to Mr. Ritz’s shave, and anyone else who has donated to any charitable cause at this time of year, demonstrate the essence of the truest light of Christmas: Hope in times of darkness. That kind of light can’t be plugged in, it doesn’t tax the grids, and it doesn’t get turned off on January 7th.
Hope for a brighter world. Hope for a cure for cancer. Hope for help for desperate families, here and abroad. Hope that our lives will count long past our present existence. Hope that faith will carry us through. Hope that our country will stand united, strong, and right.
To all the constituents in Yorkton-Melville, I pray you experience the Light of Hope that Christmas brings, and God’s best blessings in the coming New Year.