So, this Christmas was supposed to be back to normal!

Yaah! Right!

November 15 sort of wrecked that idea. Tell those people flooded out by the resurgent Sumas Lake who will have to rebuild their homes, replant their crops, or buy a new flock of chickens that this Christmas is back to normal.

Last night I got the bill for drying out one of our rent 2 own’s in Merritt, so that the clients can move back in today after a month in a hotel in Kamloops. Mold removal and other clean-up remains. Tell them this Christmas is back to normal.

Tell the equipment operators who are working 24/7 to repair damaged highways, and whose Christmas with family will thus be compromised, that Christmas is back to normal.

Omicron explodes across the globe. Hockey players and other athletes have a melancholic Christmas pondering their willingness to travel to Beijing, and the possible cancellation of the Olympic dreams they’ve spent a lifetime pursuing. Tell them this Christmas is back to normal.

Omicron marches into BC. We’re urged to keep gatherings small. Tell the employees whose corporate Christmas parties are now cancelled that this Christmas is back to normal.

Our government announces new travel restrictions to try to stem the tide of this virulent covid variant. Tell those who have plane tickets in hand for Christmas visits to family and friends in another country, or to find some sunny reprieve from atmospheric rivers, that this Christmas is back to normal.

As I write this, there are expectations that our provincial government will come down with even more restrictions on gatherings and travel. Christmas as normal?

But then consider the fact that only five people lost their lives in the November 15 storm. It was mostly about infrastructure and personal possessions, not human lives.

Consider how thankful we can be that gas rationing has ended, that our highway crews have restored the Coquihalla Highway enough to reopen before Christmas (when the initial estimate was “end of January”), and that our truckers are spending many extra hours amid tough conditions to get us the supplies that we all need to celebrate Christmas.

Consider that, due to vaccines, most of us are much safer than we were last Christmas.

Consider that, despite travel advisories and nuisance border entry requirements, we’re still a lot freer to travel than we were last year.

Ultimately, the Christmas spirit is a lot more than circumstances. As Roy L. Smith famously said, “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”

The Grinch may try to steal our Christmas spirit. But it is ultimately what is in our hearts that will determine whether or not he will succeed.

Even the Grinch, in a moment of reflection, wondered, “What if Christmas . . . doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!”