Christmas – The North Grenville Times http://www.ngtimes.ca The Voice of North Grenville Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:24:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 And so this is Christmas… http://www.ngtimes.ca/and-so-this-is-christmas-2/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/and-so-this-is-christmas-2/#respond Wed, 20 Dec 2017 19:57:32 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10327 Everyone has a favourite Christmas carol or two. Some are older, religious ones, like “Away in a Manger”, or “Joy to the World”. Others are secular and more recent, like “Silver Bells”, or “White Christmas”. For me, every year, when I think of songs for the season, John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” is […]

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Everyone has a favourite Christmas carol or two. Some are older, religious ones, like “Away in a Manger”, or “Joy to the World”. Others are secular and more recent, like “Silver Bells”, or “White Christmas”. For me, every year, when I think of songs for the season, John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” is what comes to my mind. I think it’s the question he asks that really speaks to me: “And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?”

I don’t take this as a threat, or a guilt thing: it just makes me think about the year that has passed and wonder what I have done with it. The years are passing more and more quickly now, and there are not as many left to me as there were, so the question becomes ever more relevant. Each of us have to answer it for ourselves, but there is something about this issue of the Times that is so encouraging for me, and, I hope, for you too.

Look at all the reports of people helping people. All of the support being given to the food banks, the service clubs, those working to make sure that as many people (and their pets) as possible have a happy Christmas. In the world in which we live, good news is sometimes hard to find. Cynicism and pessimism often seem the predominant attitudes, and there are too many times when such negativity seems justified.

Whether you are a Christian or not, Christmas is one time of the year when the negativity can be put aside for a few days or weeks. If you can ignore the commercialism and greed, not always easy to do, there is so much positivity around. People smile more, take pleasure in finding the right gifts for loved ones, and look forward to relaxing away from the day-to-day stresses of life. And that can’t be a bad thing, can it?

People like to talk and write about “the true spirit of Christmas”, but I find that not many seem to know what that is. For Christians, it is easier to define, I suppose. It means that God showed his love for us by being born into human nature and sharing our humanity in order to tell us about himself. More than that, he provided a way for each of us to know him and to discover why we are here, and what the meaning of life really is. That is quite a gift. It always amuses me to think that the birthday of Jesus is celebrated every year by other people receiving gifts. But that is God for you: wise men still seek him.

This is our last issue of the Times before the end of the year. No paper next week, I’m afraid, we’re taking a week off. The next copy will be on January 3, and will be our review of the year issue. That will be quite a job: picking out the main events of 2017, because it has been quite a year. To continue the John Lennon quote: “Another year over, and a new one just begun”. What will 2018 bring? Who could possibly guess, given what we’ve already been through? There will be a Provincial election in June and a municipal one on October 22. Campaigning for the municipal competition starts on May 1, and promises to be a fascinating contest.

I suppose we can’t escape politics, even in this Christmas season, as the articles and letters relating to the Kemptville College story in this issue can attest. After the municipality’s rather intemperate press release in response to an article in this paper about the business group interested in the project, we had to attend Council last Monday to ask for a formal apology and retraction. But the story of that fun-filled evening can wait until the new year, I think. Why spoil the holiday mood with that nonsense!

“And what have we done?” A good question. We have been through tumultuous times. Fake news. Auditor General reports. Hydro rates. Minimum wage increases promised/threatened. New schools in North Grenville. New stores in Colonnade. Businesses opening and closing. Buildings built and demolished. All the normal life of a small community going about its daily life. We have fought over issues, grieved over losses, rejoiced over successes, and celebrated festivals and accomplishments. It has ever been thus, and will, no doubt, continue to be so in the year ahead.

I hope and pray that we can continue to do so as a community, caring and compassionate usually, but angry and divided on other things. Because that is what life is, the little, day-by-day triumphs and failures. We sometimes take ourselves too seriously, and take others not seriously enough. Or vice versa, even! But, as year after year, Christmas after Christmas, goes by, maybe we can get some perspective on all of that. One day, we will have forgotten much of what we now find so important. One day, we, too, may be forgotten. So let’s not get too worked up over things and try and relax, at least for a few days over Christmas. You may not believe it, but God loves you, and time passes.

So, on behalf of all of us at the Times, may I wish you all the best and leave you for 2017 with John and Yoko’s words: “And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun. The near and the dear one, the old and the young. A very Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Let’s hope it’s a good one, without any fear”. [lyrics © Peermusic Publishing]

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NGCSC Special Needs Christmas Program http://www.ngtimes.ca/ngcsc-special-needs-christmas-program/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/ngcsc-special-needs-christmas-program/#respond Wed, 20 Dec 2017 19:36:31 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10294 The North Grenville Community Service Council wishes to thank all who stepped up to help so many in our community this Christmas. Community merchants and private residents like Canadian Tire owner, Frank Hoffman and his staff, the staff at KBC Rona, MNR employees, the O’Farrell Financial Group, and the Kelaher Family, all adopt year after […]

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The North Grenville Community Service Council wishes to thank all who stepped up to help so many in our community this Christmas. Community merchants and private residents like Canadian Tire owner, Frank Hoffman and his staff, the staff at KBC Rona, MNR employees, the O’Farrell Financial Group, and the Kelaher Family, all adopt year after year.

Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, Smolkin Mens Wear, Randy Cavill at Walmar Ventilation Products, along with his Family and staff, Hudson Autobody, all helped in providing movie and Shoppers Gift Cards needed for teens and seniors.

Thanks go to Royal Lepage Gale Real Estate for the Mountain of Toys, and to the Kemptville Animal Hospital’s Trim for Tins. A big role was played by all those residents in the community who shopped for the Angel Tree.

And, of course, thanks to all our Volunteers: Monique Larabie, Adonica Brown, Judy & Becky Littau, Mary Boucher, Su Ouelette, and students Isobela and Ceiledh Brown.

The NGCSC is made up of representatives from the Lions Club, Kemptville Kinsmen, the Kemptville Rotary Club, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 212, and the Knights of Columbus.

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OPP Christmas BBQ raises funds for Christmas http://www.ngtimes.ca/opp-christmas-bbq-raises-funds-christmas/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/opp-christmas-bbq-raises-funds-christmas/#respond Wed, 06 Dec 2017 19:32:52 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10104 The OPP Christmas Charity Barbeque on Thursday, November 30 was a great success! Thanks to our great community; a total of $416.00 as well as food and toys was donated to the Salvation Army Christmas Campaign. An additional $500.00 was raised for United Way. Special thanks to our sponsors Royal LePage Team Realty and Country […]

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The OPP Christmas Charity Barbeque on Thursday, November 30 was a great success! Thanks to our great community; a total of $416.00 as well as food and toys was donated to the Salvation Army Christmas Campaign. An additional $500.00 was raised for United Way. Special thanks to our sponsors Royal LePage Team Realty and Country Style Coffee.

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Christmas in Merrickville http://www.ngtimes.ca/christmas-in-merrickville-2/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/christmas-in-merrickville-2/#respond Sat, 02 Dec 2017 18:03:51 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10033 Photos by Hilary Thomson

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Photos by Hilary Thomson

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OPP Christmas BBQ http://www.ngtimes.ca/opp-christmas-bbq/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/opp-christmas-bbq/#respond Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:17:04 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=9755 The OPP Christmas Charity Barbeque is fast approaching! The event takes place on Thursday, November 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Kemptville OPP with all proceeds going to the Salvation Army Christmas Campaign and the United Way. All unwrapped toys, non-perishable food items and monetary donations are accepted. Special thanks to our […]

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The OPP Christmas Charity Barbeque is fast approaching! The event takes place on Thursday, November 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Kemptville OPP with all proceeds going to the Salvation Army Christmas Campaign and the United Way. All unwrapped toys, non-perishable food items and monetary donations are accepted. Special thanks to our sponsor Royal LePage Gale Real Estate.

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Thanks to Judy Garland for Making Hearts Light at Christmas http://www.ngtimes.ca/thanks-judy-garland-making-hearts-light-christmas/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/thanks-judy-garland-making-hearts-light-christmas/#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 19:56:11 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=9603 by Elisabeth Rubli Many holiday songs we know and love today were made popular by famous crooners of the time, like Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, and Frank Sinatra. Soft and sentimental melodies, lulling you into dreams of tinsel and sugarplums. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is one of the holiday classics you’ll enjoy in […]

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by Elisabeth Rubli

Many holiday songs we know and love today were made popular by famous crooners of the time, like Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, and Frank Sinatra. Soft and sentimental melodies, lulling you into dreams of tinsel and sugarplums.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is one of the holiday classics you’ll enjoy in the North Grenville Concert Choir’s upcoming presentation of “A Crooner Christmas”. This song premiered in the 1944 movie “Meet Me in St. Louis”, in a famous scene where Judy Garland and her little sister console each other before moving away from the home that they love.

The original lyrics, however, did not conjure up visions of sugarplums. In fact, they were downright depressing! “Have yourself a merry little Christmas / It may be your last…. Faithful friends who were dear to us / Will be near to us no more.”

Garland was so taken aback, that she asked the songwriters to change the lyrics for the film. And we now sing the more hopeful: “Let your heart be light / Next year all our troubles will be out of sight”

NGCC promises to make your heart light and the Yuletide gay with this nostalgic collection of classic seasonal songs!

A Crooner Christmas: Sunday, November 26, 2:00pm, at St. Clare’s Anglican in Winchester; Friday, December 1, 7:30pm, at Southgate Church in Kemptville; and Sunday, December 2, 7:30pm, at Holy Trinity Church in Merrickville. Tickets $15 available at Brewed Awakenings in Kemptville, Mirick’s Landing in Merrickville, and online at www.ngcc.eventbrite.ca. For info call 613-322-6484, or visit www.ngcc.net.

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The Branch Artisans Christmas Show & Sale http://www.ngtimes.ca/branch-artisans-christmas-show-sale/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/branch-artisans-christmas-show-sale/#respond Thu, 26 Oct 2017 12:23:53 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=9152 Are you looking for unique handmade gifts for that someone special on your list? Don’t settle for cookie-cutter gifts again this Holiday season! Come to the 12th Branch Artisans Annual Christmas Show & Sale, presented by the Branch Artisans Guild. The event features 37 of the area’s best artisans offering unique and beautiful handmade items. […]

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Are you looking for unique handmade gifts for that someone special on your list? Don’t settle for cookie-cutter gifts again this Holiday season! Come to the 12th Branch Artisans Annual Christmas Show & Sale, presented by the Branch Artisans Guild. The event features 37 of the area’s best artisans offering unique and beautiful handmade items. The show takes place on November 4 and 5, 2017 at the North Grenville Municipal Centre, 285 County Road 44, Kemptville. Free Admission and parking.

If you are looking for some fun and creative gifts, we have that for you: included this year we have jewellery artisans, each one different from the other, hand knitted and crocheted items for children and babies; felted hats and animals; photography, both large and small; hand crafted cards, art for your walls, both acrylic and watercolour; Christmas wreaths and home décor for interior and exterior alike; as well as wooden items, pens, and reclaimed primitive wood crafts, spa products, blown, fused and traditional stained glass, and unique up cycled items, just to name a few. Come out and meet our artisans, they are looking forward to seeing you!

Admission is free and wheel chair accessible, and there is lots of parking. If you would like to donate to the Salvation Army, donations are always welcomed!

Doors open on November 4 at 9:30 am.and close at 4 pm. Hours on November 5 are: opening at 10 am and closing at 3:30 pm.

For more information: contact Sharon 613-258-4382.

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Senior Times Let’s Connect… http://www.ngtimes.ca/senior-times-lets-connect/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/senior-times-lets-connect/#respond Wed, 11 Jan 2017 20:30:23 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=3284 Ah January you are here again, it just seems as though we saw you not long ago. With a new year brings the thought of new beginnings and reflection on the year that has ended. I find that Christmas is such a wonderful way to end a year. The Christmas spirit that envelopes our community […]

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Ah January you are here again, it just seems as though we saw you not long ago. With a new year brings the thought of new beginnings and reflection on the year that has ended. I find that Christmas is such a wonderful way to end a year. The Christmas spirit that envelopes our community at this time is truly wondrous!

There are so many examples of this here at KDHS, from the more intimate person to person moments, to the activities such as our Sing’n Seniors singing both traditional and non-traditional carols and sharing their gift of music throughout the community. There have also been laughter and good wishes heard at the various activities as well as lots of delicious goodies being shared. The Diners’ Club celebrated here at the Centre and with our larger Christmas dinner at the United Church, such memorable times with great company, delicious food and festive music. The comments that I have heard in the past few weeks have been so glowing with commendations of how much they enjoyed Christmas. And, this is all due to volunteers who give so freely of their time to help others!

2016 was our 35th year of providing service in the community, and it was an exciting year! We have had so many wonderful people show up to help out. From those volunteering in providing services such as Meals on Wheels, transportation and in the office, to those that come in to support with special projects such as our annual BBQ Picnic in June, working on committees, helping with the new phone lines, and for the kind words and notes of support and encouragement, you absolutely make a difference

In July we kicked off our campaign to raise $35,000 for the renovation of the Activity Room, and I’m so very excited to report that we have raised $32,137 so far, leaving only $2,863! And this is over and above the donations to our regular programs. Each year we have to raise over $56,000 and have been able to continue providing services with thanks to the donations from individuals, service clubs, and businesses. My wholehearted thanks go out to each and every one of you for your support of, and confidence in, Kemptville & District Home Support. KDHSI is truly a community organization!

In looking ahead in 2017 we are really excited about our 1st Annual Big Band Dance. ‘The Jive Wires’ are a 7-piece Big Band and have a wonderful repertoire of music. I’m looking forward to the evening with North Grenville Times David Shanahan as our Master of Ceremonies! Come and be transported back in time to an era of live music and nights out on the town.

Thank you everyone for your generosity of spirit. You continue to make a difference for others! Sir Winston Churchill expressed it best: “There are no limits to the majestic future which lies before the mighty expanse of Canada with its virile, aspiring, cultured, and generous-hearted people.”

Happy New Year!

Susan Smith, Executive Director
Kemptville & District Home Support

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Christmas tells us we matter http://www.ngtimes.ca/christmas-tells-us-we-matter/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/christmas-tells-us-we-matter/#respond Wed, 21 Dec 2016 23:02:57 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=3174 There has been a certain amount of tension about Christmas over the past couple of decades. The move away from “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays”, the refusal of certain businesses to allow their employees to even use the word “Christmas”, the outlawing of manger scenes in some public areas, all these have brought a nasty […]

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There has been a certain amount of tension about Christmas over the past couple of decades. The move away from “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays”, the refusal of certain businesses to allow their employees to even use the word “Christmas”, the outlawing of manger scenes in some public areas, all these have brought a nasty tone into what used to be a happy and joyful time of year. And what lies behind this change? It is the demand by certain groups that anything “religious” should be banned, in case it causes offense, or something. The thing is, without that “religious” aspect to it, Christmas doesn’t make sense.

Rather than compromise its meaning, should non-Christians not simply give up “celebrating” it? (Do you notice how political correctness, secularism, etc. demands the use of quotation marks all the time?). I actually think that Christmas, specifically because of what it means, should be held on to as a vital reminder of who we are as human beings in this universe. Christmas, as we Christians believe, commemorates the birth of Jesus. This, however, is not the same as Buddhists celebrating the birth of Buddha, or Moslems celebrating the birth of Muhammad. This was, rather, God himself becoming a human being in order to restore us to our lost relationship with himself.

Now, whether you believe that or not, it is still something to cherish in this increasingly strange secular world. Have you heard about the court cases in New York where animal rights groups are trying to have chimpanzees recognised in law as “persons”? (There’s those quotation marks again). This is honestly happening, and, although the courts refused the request, there is a certain logic in the claim, given the prevalent philosophy of our day. You see, Christians believe God created everything in the universe, and that the human race is the high point of that creation on this planet. We are, we believe, made in the image of God. But we have fallen away from that, and that is why the world is the way it is. We have lost our way, our destiny, our real meaning. The alternative view of life, based on an evolutionary set of beliefs, is that the universe and everything in it is the result of random chance, bringing together proteins and cells to accidentally bring about all the amazing variations of organic and inorganic life in the cosmos.

If that is true, then, logically, humans are no more important than chimpanzees, or rats, or microbes, or trees. We are all alike the result of chance, with no purpose, no ultimate value, no destiny beyond this short lifespan on a miserable world of hunger, war, and disease. There is no basis for morality, no explanation for traits such as love, honour, self-sacrifice, or generosity because, again logically, there is nothing to give value to these things in a meaningless world. As we have seen over the past decades, it is harder and harder to define terms like “good”, “evil”, “right and wrong”, and that is why we need to use those quotation marks all the time. That is why we are destroying the planet, manipulating and contaminating our own food supply, accepting as normal the fact that governments, politicians, and others in authority lie and deceive. It is why we either have lower standards, or increasingly no logical reason for having standards at all.

So, of course, if you believe this, then chimpanzees should have the same rights as people, because we have no natural reason to claim more than any other living creature as our right. And if it becomes unlawful to imprison other “persons” in zoos, or whatever, then it is equally unlawful for us to eat others, use others for labour (would that then be manual labour?), etc.

This is why Christmas is important, even to those who don’t altogether accept Jesus and Christianity and all that kind of thing. It is because Christmas is about more than a babe in a manger, shepherds, gifts, angels and Wise Men. It is about God becoming man and living here as a human being in order to remind us that we are made in the image of God, and are therefore of value, have meaning and purpose, and, ultimately, matter. The entire Christmas thing may just be a myth to some, but, at the very least, it is a celebration that reminds us that there is more to us than what some would have us believe. That love, joy, generosity, integrity, ethics, all of these are real and must be within us and valued by all human society for a reason. Because, behind all of cynicism, arrogance, selfishness and greed, there is also a glimpse of the eternal, the ultimate, against which we measure our lives, our beliefs, our existence. These things are not accidental byproducts of meaningless chance. They are gifts that remind us of who were are, and who we were made to be. And Christmas is all about gifts. There is, as they say, a reason for the season. And wise men still seek him.

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Ring them bells! http://www.ngtimes.ca/ring-them-bells/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/ring-them-bells/#respond Wed, 21 Dec 2016 22:49:26 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=3162 By the time you read this, the amazing series of events leading up to Christmas will be just about finished. No, not the last-minute shopping, or the mad rush to finish wrapping presents, buying food and drink supplies, etc. I mean the many projects, initiatives and events that are the work of so many volunteers […]

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By the time you read this, the amazing series of events leading up to Christmas will be just about finished. No, not the last-minute shopping, or the mad rush to finish wrapping presents, buying food and drink supplies, etc. I mean the many projects, initiatives and events that are the work of so many volunteers in our North Grenville community, all designed to make sure that no individual or family is left out this Christmas. Food, toys and supplies of all kinds have been donated, collected, sorted and delivered in astonishing amounts this year – possibly more than in any year before.

It is almost a cliché to say that this is a caring community: it is a fact that is proved again and again, and not just at Christmas. But, somehow, this season brings out the best in people, the generosity, the caring and the willingness to put oneself out for the sake of others. When you think about the Mountain of Toys, the Sally Ann Kettle Campaign volunteers, the mind-boggling $35,000 worth of food collected through the Fill-a-Bag Campaign, initiatives by Rotary, Kinsmen, and just about every church congregation in North Grenville, and many more that can go unnoticed, it’s hard to see where people find time to do their regular work, shopping, and recreation!

There is something about this time of year, the Christmas season, that is different. People act differently, they respond to the idea that we need to be caring and generous, that family and friends are important parts of life, and that people without those things need to be included somehow. Some call this “the true spirit of Christmas”, but what is that? There are two versions of the holiday in competition with each other, especially over the past couple of decades.

One is the traditional, what may be called the “religious” view – CHRISTmas, complete with carols and hymns about the birth of Jesus, Wise Men, mangers and nativity scenes. This makes sense: after all, what is Christmas but the celebration of Jesus’ birth? It doesn’t really matter that December 25 was just a handy pagan holiday lifted by the Catholic Church as a date to adopt for the occasion. The fact of the birth of Jesus, the way in which that event completely changed the world, for believers and non-believers alike, makes it one of the most significant events in history. We have even changed how we calculate time to mark it. Whether you call it 2017 A.D. (Anno Domini, “the year of the Lord”), or 2017 C.E. (Christian or Common Era), makes no difference either. He is at the centre of history.

Christmas is a specifically Christian event, but open to all to enjoy. Over many years, it has been almost overwhelmed by secular additions: rather like a Christmas tree being almost hidden by lights, tinsel and various baubles. We have added Santa Claus, holly, reindeer, decorations, even Christmas trees, but the reason for the season is still the same. So, what is the true spirit of Christmas? It is celebration, joy to the world, gift-giving and a desire for peace for all.

The competing tradition wants to remove all the “religious” elements from the Holidays (as some like to call Christmas, forgetting that the world “holiday” comes from the words “holy day”, not much of an improvement for the non-religious). Those promoting this approach to Christmas want to replace Christ with an X, as in Xmas (again, forgetting that the “mas” part comes from the word “Mass”, as in “Christ’s Mass”, which comes from the Old English). That just seems silly, really. What sense does it make to try and pretend that this festive season has nothing to do with religion, Jesus, or the supernatural?

I am often forced to wonder why people react so badly to the idea of Jesus, religion, and all of that kind of thing, especially at Christmas. Even if you don’t believe that Jesus is God, even if you reject any spiritual reality at all, what did he do to annoy people so much that they want to remove him from such a joyful celebration of peace, generosity and goodwill? At the very least, here was a man who told people they should love one another, even their enemies. That they should forgive hurts, do good, care for the sick, the hungry, the poor, the young and the old. Aside from a period when he was very young, he never left his homeland, held no political position, worked most of his life as a carpenter, and lived such a life that even his opponents could find no genuine charge to lay against him.

And yet, they killed him. Strange world, isn’t it? Terrorism, wars, murders of schoolchildren, the destruction of the planet… Yes, given all that, let’s enjoy these few days of warmth, peace, generosity and caring in our community. We have so much to be grateful for (to whomever you wish to be grateful), so much to value and appreciate in our friends, family and neighbours. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could carry that into 2017 and throughout the coming year? For now, let’s be thankful for the reason for the season, and remember that wise men still seek him.

From everyone at the North Grenville Times: Happy Christmas to you and yours.

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