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By the time you read this, almost half of January will have passed. Many will be very happy to see that, but others will wonder, just where did the time go? In another pandemic lockdown, with so much uncertainty about what will happen next, most people feel the need for more light in their life, more daylight, more sunlight, more laughter to lighten our conversations or as in more knowledge to shed light on our situation. In our latest East Central Ontario Regional Council of The United Church of Canada (ECORC) newsletter, I found out how our indigenous neighbours felt about this time of year, especially the winter solstice day.

“THE WINTER SOLSTICE IS A SPECIAL TIME FOR THOSE WHO HONOUR AND ACKNOWLEDGE THE PATTERNS OF OUR NATURAL WORLD. On this day, the sun is at its lowest point in the sky, travelling across the sky world above us in a short stride, resulting in the shortest day and the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. For Indigenous people across the globe, the natural world is a source of teachings about natural and universal laws. In understanding the interconnectedness of all things, we recognize that the cosmos– the sun, moon, stars, and other planets– affect us and connect us in undeniable ways.”

We tend to think more about the few minutes of more light in the coming days, the “light at the end of the tunnel, a phrase we have so often heard in the last 22 months. Light is also hope, and we must continue to hope even on those dark and snowy days!

A few people enjoyed birthday celebrations this past week. I always feel a little sorry for anyone whose birthday comes at Christmas or close to it, but I am sure the parents were extremely happy regardless of the date!

We will start with Erin Smith. Erin is the wife of Les Smith, who was born here in Sandford. Erin works as a massage therapist but must be very busy with four children to look after. They live in Sunderland. She celebrated her birthday with both sets of parents and Chinese takeout, followed by cake, of course!

Our wonderful Carol Gibson also celebrated a very significant birthday. How we all miss hearing her play and hearing her accompany other groups and soloists. I know she, too, misses it and no doubt has continued her daily practice sessions. She is also a wonderful singer, although we seldom get to appreciate that.

Happy birthday also to Christy Hackner! Christy studied History and Philosophy at Tyndale University and is one of the three lovely daughters of Rev. Jim and Sandra Hackner, living on the 5th Concession!

Happy birthday also to Tawn MacDonald! Tawn spent many of her growing up years in Uxbridge as her father, Dr. Don Davis, who was the veterinarian for a long time, much of it on his own. Much later, as a teacher, Tawn spent a number of years at Epsom school prior to the closure. Tawn and husband Craig enjoy hiking, skiing and all sorts of outdoor activities.

Big wishes also go out to Wilma Bakelaar. Wilma came to Uxbridge with her parents many years ago and helped them run a clothing store in the lower part of town. When they retired, she and her husband John set up a shoe store instead. Since then, they have run a lodge and enjoyed retirement.

Our sympathies go out to the friends and family of Kathleen (Kay) Monkman, the former Kay Bradbury who passed away at Reachview just before Christmas. Her family ran Bradbury’s Bakery in the upper part of town for a very long time. In those days, you could get your baked goods delivered, and one of their delivery people was Ron Monkman, who she later married.

Kay had resided in Reachview for almost 12 years, and it is safe to say that Ron visited her almost every day. He had recently moved from Butternut to Reachview, but his time with her was short. Certainly, his devotion was not! They had four children, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Sadly, as I said last week, we are back to virtual church services, but plenty of the larger local churches have services up I can listen to on zoom as a live stream or YouTube somewhat later. We had several invitations, but many were simultaneous, which made it difficult to choose. No need to miss church, though!

Here is an Irish Blessing to finish. How come the Irish have all the blessings to bestow?

“Peace friends and Peace to kin, Peace to their home and the families within.

Like the gold of the sun, like the light of the day, May God’s love and protection shine bright on your way!”

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