An amazing sense of community pride and small town generosity resides here in Big Valley.
We are very fortunate to live in a community where the people care so much about their village and their neighbours. It is this spirit of caring and sharing that truly defines who we are.
Since moving to this village, I have found myself on the receiving end of numerous “random acts of kindness”. From the neighbour who shovels my front walk when I don’t seem to have the time to the ladies who bring delicious home baked goodies to my door just before Christmas, to the shop owner who ordered in the special gifts I needed for Christmas because I could not get to the city myself. These small acts of kindness rarely make the news headlines. But it is these people giving generously and quietly who truly personify the spirit of the season.
Last Christmas, my daughter and I experienced a remarkably special act of kindness we will never forget.
It had been a devastating year. I lost my father suddenly to a heart attack. Then only two months later, my husband was diagnosed with terminal, untreatable cancer. He died on the first of July. We had been in Big Valley for just over a year and hadn’t gotten to know anyone yet. We have no family in the area and approaching was the first Christmas alone with my six-year-old daughter. Emotionally, things were tough.
One evening, a few weeks before Christmas, there was a loud rap on the front door. Opening it, I found a small, marvelously wrapped package sitting on the porch. Attached was a small note: ”On the first day of Christmas, an elf brought to you…” A mysterious gift left for my daughter to brighten her holiday. I was stunned and more than a little curious. The next night, the same thing; a loud knock and a small gift with another little verse from that same elf; “On the second day of Christmas, an elf brought to you…”
This continued through all 12 nights until Christmas Eve. Each gift was different, wrapped with great care, delivered after dark with a new verse attached. Every night my daughter waited in anticipation, hoping to see how this elf delivered the gifts without leaving any footprints in the snow.
We never did catch the elf, which made the experience all the more memorable for a vulnerable little girl. I could never explain just how much those gifts meant to me and my daughter. We didn’t feel so alone anymore. The magic of Christmas was brought back into the life of a little girl who had lost so much. That special act of kindness helped us through a very difficult time.
A year later, we definitely feel like a part of this community. There is something very special about this village. I see people with big hearts reaching out to one another. People smile and wave at you, every one says hello and calls you by name. People seem genuinely happy to be living here.
All our community events, dinners, concerts, hockey games and special events, provide us with a sense of belonging and pride. The spirit of Christmas shines in the hearts of those who demonstrate concern and kindness for their neighbours. How fortunate we are to live in a community where this spirit is embraced by the people. This is the true meaning of Christmas.
At this time of year, as we enjoy the holiday celebrations and reflect on the year just passed, I would like to wish every one a very Happy New Year.
I hope you were able to experience a little of that special Christmas magic for yourself.