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Christmas is less than a week away but I’m having trouble feeling the old Christmas spirit. By now everyone knows about the tragedy that took place in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday in which 20 children (all aged 6 and 7) and 6 adults lost their lives. I can’t even describe the grief and dismay that I felt. It got worse each time I turned on the television and learned more about those children whose lives were ended far too soon.

I don’t want to get into the gun debate but I will say that as a Canadian, most of us watch with confusion as these massacres happen over and over again and still do not lead to any change in gun laws and regulations.

In addition to this tragedy, I’ve had to watch as some people in my personal life face their mortality. My great aunt is living out her final days in a hospital because she has an inoperable brain tumor. On the one hand, I am thankful that at least she has lived a long life and has been able to bring joy to everyone around her. But it’s always sad to say goodbye, even under the best circumstances. A family friend is also facing death. He is suffering from a hereditary disease that has required him to be on oxygen for a long time and is now in the hospital due to a collapsed lung. Once again, death is on the horizon.

It’s hard to face these kinds of situations at any time of year but especially at a time that’s usually thought of as happy and celebratory. However, no matter how dark it gets, it’s helpful to remember people at their best and celebrate the impact they had on your life no matter how big or how small.

*edit* One day after posting this, our family friend passed away in hospital. May God rest his soul.