The season that suggests we should have joy, peace and love can often instead be filled with busyness, financial demands and feelings of being overwhelmed.
Christmas is a big deal. In the religious pluralism of multicultural Canada, it is the dominant winter holiday. There are tensions between secular and religious aspects of Christmas, as well as debates about the merits of the more inclusive greeting, “Happy Holidays,” rather than “Merry Christmas,” but Buddhist festivities are not poised to replace Christmas in seasonal plays, pageants and concerts.
Low income is at the root of more than three decades of food bank use in Canada. Though the circumstances that send someone through the doors of a food bank are diverse – the loss of a job, family breakup, sudden health problems, barriers related to race, disability, or mental illness, among others – it is the widespread lack of income to cushion hard times that is the key factor making Canadian food banks so necessary, particularly for low income families with children.
Although Santa Claus was originally viewed as the Christian figure of Saint Nicholas, a patron saint of children, Santa Claus is arguable wholly secular in today’s world.