Released on December 11, 2015In summer of 2015, public officials in our province of Saskatchewan issued a decree: that all affected people leave their homes and in mass exodus, travel to places of refuge where they could be safe and accounted for.
They were escaping blazing forest fires of epic proportions.
It was the largest evacuation in Saskatchewan history.
Thousands of people were on the move, all of them in uncertain circumstances, not knowing how quickly they would return home.
For a few young women, these circumstances had an added dimension of uncertainty. They were in the late stages of pregnancy.
These young women were living as displaced persons far from home, without the supplies they had gathered for their new baby.
But thankfully for all concerned, healthy babies were delivered in hospitals close by with medical staff to give assistance.
We are privileged to live in a province where people come together. That can be difficult when stress levels are high.
And so, I salute the evacuees, the firefighters, the troops, the Red Cross, and the local officials, the mayors and chiefs.
Those who shared money, food and supplies, and those who prayed for an ending to this situation. All rose to the occasion.
Two thousand years ago, a public official named Caesar Augustus issued a decree that all people needed to be accounted for. It affected the entire Roman world. Everyone needed to be registered.
Many people were on the move, with primitive travel arrangements, not knowing how long this would take.
I’m sure for some young women, this circumstance had an added dimension of uncertainty. Like being in the late stages of pregnancy.
For one of these young women, the time came to have her baby, her first. Not in a local hospital along the way, not even in a clean, comfortable Holiday Inn, but in a stable, with precious few amenities.
Her only assistant, a most likely very, very nervous husband, with perhaps some curious animals looking on.
She didn’t have much for supplies either. All she had were a few strips of cloth to wrap him in. And all she could lay him in was not a cradle made by her carpenter husband, but just a simple, dirty manger.
Crude surroundings for a King. His first visitors – an adoring group in from the fields smelling strongly of sheep. They were alerted by a type of atmospheric media unlike any we could imagine.
All rose to the occasion.
This Christmas, we celebrate the arrival of that very special baby boy. The “Divinest Heart that ever walked the earth was born on that day” as it has been said. (Leigh Hunt)
His name is Jesus, the essence of hope and peace and the ultimate example of self-sacrifice for love.
So from me and my wife Tami, and our family, and on behalf of my colleagues in the Government of Saskatchewan: “May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; The spirit of Christmas which is peace; The heart of Christmas which is love.” (Ada V. Hendricks)
And may you spread joy to others who need it most. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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