Weekly Commentary  

Miracle in the trenches

Remember the (true) story of the momentary miracle in the midst of World War 1 brutal trench warfare?

In case you've never read the accounts (or seen the movie), basically what happened was that soldiers along a fierce battlefront stopped their warring for a few hours on Christmas Eve.

Reportedly, they clambered out of their trenches after one soldier had sung a heart tugging rendition of Silent Night.

Then they all got together in ‘No-Man's-Land’ between the two blood soaked trenches. They popped some champagne, showed pictures of loved ones and even played a bit of soccer together between the bombed out foxholes.

A day later they were all back into their dug-in positions blasting each other to smithereens.

Something happened this past week in the House of Commons that made me think of that event. Let me be clear that I'm not for a minute comparing the ongoing shallow antics that too often take place in Parliament with the heroic efforts of courageous soldiers locked in mortal combat.

Having said that, on the eve of the House shutting down for the Christmas Break, a short heartfelt speech from a female Sikh MP actually resulted in a reflective moment of silence.

Nina Grewal is a Member of Parliament from BC's Lower Mainland. As mentioned, she is also of the Sikh faith.

Here is the verbatim account of what she said, as MP's listened and the Chamber became silent - “Mr. Speaker, Christmas is fast approaching and tales of political correctness fill the air as many seek to remove all that is Christian from Christmas.

Nativity scenes are banned, holiday trees replace Christmas trees and references to God, Christ and the Lord are cast aside, leaving us with just another meaningless, consumer-oriented holiday.

The spirit of Christmas should not be taken out of Christmas. Non-Christian, new Canadians or immigrants are not offended and do not want to be protected.

Every year thousands from all faiths gather to celebrate the Chinese New Year, Vaisakhi, Diwali and more. We accept and respect each other's beliefs and traditions.

Therefore, let us not strip Christians of their identity and faith and let us not abandon the traditions of religion.

I wish my Christian friends a happy Vaisakhi and they wish me a merry Christmas and we all celebrate together. Let us celebrate Christmas as it is and as it should be.”

Two days after MPs heard this message from Nina Grewal I was back here in the constituency filling food hampers for the needy at an annual volunteer event put on by Rotary and the Salvation Army.

Somebody good naturedly chided that Mayor Dan Ashton, MLA Bill Barisoff and I were, surprisingly, working together on something. (In real life we do actually work very well together.)

I wondered to myself what it would take for political parties and the media to conduct the people's business between themselves without the all too common flow of insults and sarcasm that seem to intertwine the attempts to simply forge a better country.

Whatever special chemistry that takes, may you find the formula with your families and friends for a few days or hours during this Yuletide break.

Merry Christmas.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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