Hello folks. Well, Christmas is almost here and I want to take a moment to wish everyone a happy and joyful holiday season.
This year, the celebration will be a little different. We’re asking you to gather with only those in your household because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We have to do this to control the spread of the virus to protect one another. I know it’s disappointing. We all want to get together with family and friends during the holidays. But we’re doing this for one Christmas only.
Very soon, we will begin a vaccination program in Saskatchewan. It will be rolled out across the province in the months to come. It’s going to take a while to get everyone vaccinated. So we need to continue to take precautions - wear your mask, wash your hands frequently and practice social distancing.
But believe me when I say this: better days are ahead in Saskatchewan. Life will return to normal and in a year’s time, we will come together again, to enjoy the holidays the way we should the way we always have.
The meaning of Christmas hasn’t changed. This is a time of reflection, of reverence, a time to reconnect with the ones we love. For many of us, this is the season when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour. Jesus calls on us to love another, to carry one another’s burdens. Those of us who have been blessed in our lives have a sacred obligation, a duty, to reach out to, to provide comfort, love and support where we can.
That’s the spirit of Christmas.
And this year, one of the most difficult years we have ever experienced, we have seen the spirit of Christmas at work in every corner of this province.
In Melfort, a Licenced Practical Nurse named Laura Alexander wanted to shine a ray of hope for patients, families and her co-workers. And last month, she did just that - literally.
Laura went out and bought some beautiful, blue Christmas lights, and put them on a balcony above the entrance of Melfort Hospital.
Those lights spell the word Hope.
Laura says she works with amazing people - a work family that has become closer in the last few months. All of our health care workers in Saskatchewan are amazing and we owe them so much.
In Regina, Lindsay Patton a server at Boston Pizza decided to donate all her tips for October to Souls Harbour Rescue Mission.
Lindsay is grateful her customers responded so generously.
She raised $2,750 for Souls Harbour and Boston Pizza matched the donation.
In Warman, fire chief Russ Austin was worried about the youngsters who couldn’t have birthday parties during the pandemic.
So Russ said this: “these poor kiddos don’t even understand why their birthday is being cancelled or why people can’t come over.”
So Chief Austin decided to broaden the mandate of Warman Fire Rescue. The department made gift bags for the kids and dropped them off at their homes. The firefighters sang Happy Birthday. Chief Austin reports that the kiddos were pretty happy.
And in Swift Current, Kathy Jennings wanted to ensure every senior in the area had a good Christmas.
Kathy started a program called Adopt a Senior for the Christmas Holidays. 566 seniors signed up. In less than three weeks, all of them were spoken for. The seniors will get gifts, Christmas cards, and many will get photos of children and pets from their new friends and I would imagine more than one of them will get a phone call on Christmas Day.
Folks, that’s the spirit of Christmas. That’s the spirit that has come to define Saskatchewan. And it’s alive and well across our province.
You know, we’ve been through a lot this year. It’s been difficult and there are some tough days ahead. But we’re going to get through this together, like we always do.
So however you celebrate the holiday, I wish you the very best.
From my wife Krista and our children, and on behalf of my colleagues in the Government of Saskatchewan, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.