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Ribbons and Reflections

As I mused over what to write for this blog, I was surprised by the many Facebook notes about campaigns that have been highlighted over the last weeks amid all the Christmas media.

There have been some pretty heavy days leading up to the festive Christmas season. November 19th was pink day to stop bullying in our schools, December 1st was World AIDS Day (Red Ribbon Day) bringing awareness to AIDS/HIV and November 25-Dec 6th is the White Ribbon campaign to end violence against women.

There are so many good and worthwhile causes that are highlighted in our immediate world and many of these campaigns cast youth in the midst of them. We are blessed that we as a youth leaders and youth can teach, support and empower so many of these causes through our Christian faith.

We meet in our youth programs and find we have peers that are living with these issues throughout their lives both openly and in secret. There those who are bullied because of differences, those who have illnesses both seen and unseen, those girls and boys who are battered socially, emotionally and physically. Pretty serious stuff in what most people see as fun and busy season. If you are a youth leader you have the ability and gift to talk, coach, support and give comfort. If you are a youth member you can also support and care for those who struggle. Never underestimate the power of simply lending a caring ear or shoulder to those who are hurting especially in a time where we are inundated with happy Christmas themes. Sometimes we forget that this season is not special for everyone.

Youth programs are not here just to be Christian social groups or nights of hanging out. Don’t get me wrong, those are important too and a fun night of carolling is a great time out but we live in a world that is not perfect and we find many in our own communities who are hurt and are seeking safe havens. We are called as Christians to be aware and be active in supporting those struggling. Be a safe haven this Christmas season. Offer welcome, support, genuine care and in doing so show love to those youth(or your friends) for whom life is sometimes overwhelming.

Laura Walton

About Laura Walton

Laura Walton is part of the Youth Initiatives Team for the Anglican Church of Canada. She is the half time youth minister at All Saints', Collingwood and has a private counselling practice in the area as well. As the mom of 2 teenagers, a Preacher's Kid, and long time volunteer in the Diocese of Toronto Laura has worked in the field of youth and children's ministry on the ground floor level for many years. Laura has a love for sports, music and challenging the status quo which she brings to her work in youth and children's ministry.
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