Christmas Joy

Christmas is many things: Singing, parties, lots of food, religious events, story-telling, kind acts, Santa, the exchange of presents, gathering together of families and friends, and for many, the feeling of good will towards others.

It can also be hectic, a time when many feel down, lonely and disappointed because of unmet expectations.

Several Fridays ago, our Rotary club had our annual Seniors Christmas party at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto. It is paid for and organized by our club and has been going on for more than 40 years. Approximately 200 seniors from all over the city come from their retirement homes, churches and neighbourhood homes for a festive Christmas lunch.

Many of the seniors do not get out much, and many are mobile only because they have walkers. They come dressed in their finest. For them, lunch at the beautifully decorated Royal York is a big treat.

After been driven to the hotel by club members, they are joined by other Rotary members at the tables. Then other Rotary members dressed as elves come to the tables and make a fuss over our guests.

Rotary Seniors Christmas Lunch

After some carols, and the turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry has finished, the lights are dimmed and the waiters come in a line carrying a flaming Christmas pudding. Santa comes too and delivers a small gift to each of our guests. I was seated at a table with seven elderly women. We had a wonderful conversation. Fortunately all hearing aids were working, including mine.

The highlight for me and many others came when the Grade 6 choir from John Wanless School started to sing. They sang a number of carols, bringing all of us – the elderly, the young and many in between – together.

These young peoples’ voices brought much joy, a feeling that stuck with me for the rest of the day. Their voices delivered the Christmas spirit. The drivers, coordinators, Santa and his helpers, musicians and everyone else there too, felt full of joy.

While this was just one Christmas event, it was a great example of how good we can all feel when everyone is working together in a spirit of good will.

Till next time,

Chris Snyder

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