A Winter Prayer

FTLComm - Weekes - Sunday, December 23, 2001
The doorway to Phillip and Pauline Lindenbach's house on the farm North East of Weekes is a scene of light and character. Santa figures, a group of carolers, a nativity scene and a wreath tinkling tunes into the darkness.

Today their family will be joining them to begin the Christmas celebrations and the main event will be tomorrow night as they will celebrate Christmas Eve together, children, grandchildren and all the wonder of a family. Christmas day each of their family members will head off to spend the day with their respective family groups and Phillip, who will be eight-seven on the twenty-ninth, will spend Christmas Day with Pauline.

Phillip who has lent his insight into the way the world seems to bend its way along offered two deeply felt thoughts as we talked last night.

Like so many people all around the world he is concerned about the tragic and unprecedented events of September 11 and explained that one of his hopes and perhaps his prayer is that this terrible series of events will not simply pass on into history, but that both America and Americans will turn their sadness and anger into a positive thing. Phillip said that the lives of those lost should not be in vain but his prayer for this Christmas was that people everywhere reexamine what is important and consider the fearsome rush toward material goods might be better turned toward supporting and helping friends and neighbours. The horrible motivation propelling the perpetrators of the attack may be rooted in profound sadness and it is time to address the needs of those who feel so gravely wronged.

Phillip who for almost all of his life contributed to Saskatchewan weekly newspapers in his famous and witty letters to the editor is no longer able to write and regrets that he sees this part of his life now in the shadows so from my conversation with him I am just passing along the message this wise man's thoughts for this year.

He explained to me that like so many others he is saddened by the commercial aspects of Christmas but equally heartened by the feelings of warmth, goodwill and renewal of family bonds each Christmas. He said that the two weeks that seem to herald the positive attitudes around Christmas quickly fade as the does the glow of Christmas lights and both we as people and as a society, so quickly revert to the rat race that seems to occupy so much of our existence. Phillip's prayer is that we all push the spirit of this time further to extend far more into the rest of the year as we so badly need to treat each other better.