Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas from LCCC! (with a reflection on the ice storm that hit the GTA)

Hi everyone. Hope you're all having a warm and cozy Christmas :) This card is just a little something we put together for you guys! 

This past weekend, most of us GTAers were struck by an ice storm that left many Torontonians without power for hours on end. Some were lucky enough to avoid the blackout; some got their power back after just a few hours; but most had outages for almost 70 hours. Indeed, there are quite a few families that are still without power. Many were left wondering if the White Christmas outdoors would come at the expense of a Black Christmas indoors. 

Amazingly, a large number of us watched a Christmas miracle unfold, as Toronto Hydro, along with help from its Manitoban and American neighbours, worked their butts off to restore power back to Canada's largest city, only minutes after the 25th of December had set. There are, of course, quite a few parts of the metropolis that are still without power, and we pray that all the juice will be restored soon.

With this ice storm comes a few interesting things to reflect upon. Yes, we were forced to go through the trouble of (literally) breaking the ice on our driveways and sidewalks. Yes, many of us drove to nearby Home Depots and Canadian Tires, only to discover that all the salt had been sold out. But it's interesting to think about just how much our lives are dependent on electricity nowadays. Not even 5 years ago, it would have been a little far-fetched for cell phones and tablets to make the 'Survival Kit List', and yet here we are, at the end of 2013, running to malls and coffee shops for warmth and company—and outlets to charge our laptops and phones.

One way to look at this is that this is simply the current state of affairs, like it or not. And to an extent, this is true. Our communication these days is 99.99% done through data networks, not Canada Post. Relying so heavily on electricity can be a good thing, and it can be a bad thing, and that's just how it is. I personally cannot dispute that viewpoint. But what this weekend afforded me was some time to think about getting away from all of those distractions. While my own household was fortunate enough to avoid being struck by downed power lines and fallen trees, I heard quite a few stories of how family members found company not on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, but amongst themselves. Cousins and siblings took refuge in each other's houses, and instead of picking up a tablet, they played music and board games. Neighbours helped out neighbours by smashing ice and lending salt. The true spirit of Christmas came out amongst this time that many perceived as (literally and metaphorically) "dark"—the spirit of generosity, charity, and family.

Considering this, I think the trial of the ice storm was not a time of peril, but a blessing in disguise. Laura Story knows what she's singing about—our Lord's blessings do come through raindrops, and this particular trial in our lives very well could have been one of His mercies in disguise. And let's not forget that while we went three days without good food, warmth, water, and electricity, there are thousands out there that go through this on a daily basis.

This December 25th, spend some time trying to live out the true spirit of Christmas. Don't wish people a boring "Happy Holidays"; give them a cheery "Merry Christmas"! Enjoy the gifts, enjoy the rediscovery of warmth and food, but don't forget that Jesus Christ is the reason for our season! (And the reason why we have two weeks off from school.)

Have a great Christmas with your family and friends! :)

- Jason, on behalf of the LCCC exec.

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