When Christmas time comes around, I turn from a hard-working and serious 40-something into a big kid. There are a lot of things that I like to do for Christmas,. Perhaps one of my favourites is to try to spend time with my niece. She can’t always come out to Alberta, so I often go out to see her and my sister.
I love to give and receive presents. One year my niece got a fancy box wrapped up. She opened it to reveal a box for a fancy toy or stereo, but it turned out it was just a regular present -she didn’t hit the jackpot. When she got to my present, she unwrapped the box which was for a laptop computer and I recall her saying, “It probably isn’t a laptop.” But, in fact, it was, and she was elated and I was elated to see the look on her face and just couldn’t stop smiling.
Another thing that makes my Christmas is to watch one of my favourite movies of all time: Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. I have always loved Jimmy Stewart and still find films of his I haven’t seen, and I greatly applaud the role he played in this Christmas classic. In fact, I even in some ways try to mirror the generosity and selflessness of his character George Bailey in my own life – the influence it has had on me was that strong – and I love the ending where everyone gathers around the Christmas tree to help and support George Bailey in his time of need. I hate to admit it, but this scene has brought me to tears more than once.
In more recent years, I also have started a new tradition. I go to Christmas Mass at Sacred Heart Church. I love to be there among the community members and to worship alongside the diverse McCauley people. I feel so warm and loved inside that church, even though the windows, which are filled with rays of sunlight, guard us from our extreme Edmonton temperatures. When it all comes down to it, the birth of Jesus is the foundation of Christmas, though I don’t assume that people who believe in other faiths have got it wrong or aren’t going to heaven. We are all really brothers and sisters and Christmas should be a time when we look for more ways to love each other not find reasons for division.
Although this Christmas my sister and niece won’t be coming out, I am very excited about what Christmas will be like because something I have dreamed about (literally – I have had actual dreams about this) is going to be coming real just before December 25. There is finally going to be another Star Wars Movie with the original cast and I just can’t wait to see it. It may seem strange to give a movie such high regard, but when I was a young boy, me and all of my friends believed Star Wars to be something of a religion. A lot of us were disappointed with the second Trilogy that came out but now that Luke, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and the original voice of Darth Vader are going to be in the new one, it is just too much to keep my enthusiasm inside.
I hope everyone in McCauley and Boyle Street has a wonderful Christmas, and I thank everyone who reads my articles here and has come up to me and complimented me on my writing. Merry Christmas to all!
Leif lives in McCauley.