December 24, 2015

A Christmas Story

The true spirit of Christmas  lies in this real story that has been circulating through media since October. Yes, it is a story that unfolds in the world much like a movie comes to life – so real and touching that it makes your heart flutter of admiration, tears of emotion burn your face, and your faith in the goodness of humankind grows stronger as a stem in the dust...
Evan is seven year old boy who has been diagnosed with brain cancer at just two-years-old. When in early fall his condition worsens, doctors advise the family "to celebrate Christmas early this year." Evan's mother shares with family and friends the devastating prospect of Evan not making it to Christmas. The mother's cousin enthusiastically starts a Facebook page to encourage people not to donate money, but rather empathy and involvement in organizing one last Christmas celebration for Evan in October. And it all begins! 
The dwellers of the town of St. George leave their own little bubbles of indifference and start decorating their houses with Christmas lights. Within days, the whole town is lit up, some houses with signs saying "Merry Christmas Evan." Firefighters offer to take the boy for a ride on a fire truck around the festive town. Then, an event coordinator at the local city council takes the initiative to organize a Santa Claus parade in October. By the next morning, 6 000 people sign up for the parade. 7 000 come – more than triple the small population of St. George Town, an hour drive from Toronto. The press cap the parade at 25 different floats, including, of course, the most important one with Santa, his reindeers and the sleigh on which Evan gets a ride. A special-effects company donates a machine that would make artificial snow at 17 degree weather in October. Locals brew hot chocolate and bake cookies to pass to the crowd. "Mobilization on incredible scale," people share... for one last Christmas of a sick child.
Evan died a few days ago (on Dec. 6) The media still reflects on everything around him. It is a pity that I learned too late! Yes, my family would have gone to the parade had we discovered earlier. I'm not always good at organization, but I am the Queen of participation and moral support. I strongly believe that participation is important. Life, indeed, is not for spectating, but for participating. We should teach our children and encourage them from an early age to participate. I always like the idea of sending every child home with a ribbon "Participant" after each competition, conference and event. Because the widespread apathy in our society creates a fertile ground for the utter impoverishment of the human soul.
However, my thoughts are in fact about enthusiasm and an inspiring spirit. If someone tells you that "nothing happens with one naked enthusiasm", do not believe them! History proves that nothing great has happened without it! And this last Christmas for Evan happens as a result only of the spiritual uplift of mankind and the sincere human concern for the welfare of others. 
Christmas stories are essential to the celebration of Christmas. They are a way for us to connect to our cultural identity, to reflect on our core values and to glimpse a better world, one that observes the message of peace on earth, goodwill to men and compassion to one another. So I am encouraging you to tell Evan's story to your children, friends and acquaintances. It is important for all of us to know that good films can happen in real life, that we all posses the power to make movies comes to life. And it is all possible when we choose to get involved, to participate in our lives and in the lives of those who need us most. A wise mind once said that if you can give your son or daughter one gift, let it be - enthusiasm.
Yes, there is pain, sickness and death in the story, but more than anything it is brimming with love, hope, connectedness, a sense of belonging, humanity, and LIFE. All for the same reasons that we decorate Christmas trees, sing Christmas songs and light candles in churches. But as my son's speaking Santa toy remind us, let's never forget that "The Magic Of Christmas Lies In Your Heart!"
One thing is clear: we, people are the light, we are the tree, we are the church. Our Christmases and our lives, similar to movies or not, happen because of us – when we choose to participate and never lose our enthusiasm, "the sustaining power of all great actions."
This Christmas, dear friends, keep your spirit high and be ready to participate.

 These photos are taken while my husband is preparing a traditional Bulgarian pumpkin pie most often made during Christmas time. The recipe can be found here

Merry Christmas to you all! 


  1. So much to say here, so many parallel ideas.

    First of all, your photography. My goodness, you are the queen of light and shadows. YOU NEED YOUR OWN magazine! The emotion that floods from each frame is proof that you are an artist. The blurred lights in the background, the sensuous form of the dough on the rustic table, the slices of pie lifted up toward the viewer. Masterfully done, dearest Sylvia.

    And then, for the story.

    I believe as well that WE are the light. We are the vessels in which The Light of the World has chosen to dwell. With that being said in historical scripture records, that not only challenges us, but proves a powerful point. We are all we've got. The higher powers are within us but we need to respect HIM and walk in his path. Only then can we cast the light in the darkness and live in the parallelled life, constantly assailed by death and the fear of it.

    This child's testimony is a reminder to me that HOW we journey down the human experience is what matters. We live, we pass. But how we did both is the ultimate story.

    God bless you dearest Sylvia! Anita

  2. Lovely story except for the comment about people leaving their bubbles of indifference. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. The important things is that they all came together for a little boy.

  3. Sylvia, thank you for the beautifully written Christmas message. I agree, life is too precious not to be a participant. You are so gifted in your writings and photography, and they remain vivid in my memory long after I close your post. Blessings to you and yours this Christmas season.

  4. I was so mesmerized by your beautiful photos, Sylvia. I simply didn't expect to read such a poignant account of a brave little boy and hundreds of caring souls dedicated to making his last days joyful. I am beyond wordless...

    We recently lost a young girl, 12 years old, to cancer in out neighborhood. Her parents wanted to raise awareness to the type of cancer she had and through their Facebook page it garnered so much attention that every lamppost and traffic sign for blocks had purple ribbons tied to them (her fave color). Tall buildings in downtown Chicago lit up in purple including Willis Tower, once the tallest building in the world. And her wish to meet Taylor Swift never happened but she did have a lengthy phone call with her that made her beyond happy. It was a sad day when she lost her fight, our city mourned...thousands of caring souls in Chicago who had been united by this brave young girl who believed in 'being strong and hopeful and brave" grieved.

    So Sylvia, I had thought of writing a post but didn't think I could do justice to Emily's story. You did a wonderful thing here---I applaud you.

    Merry Christmas, my friend...I so love and appreciate our friendship.

    Jane xxx

  5. A truly inspiring story. And your photo story is just as inspiring. Such beauty and feeling. We continue to celebrate during the days after Dec. 25th until New Year's Day. So we are still full of the spirit. Your message adds so much! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  6. This was truly beautiful to read about Evan and your pictures were quite delightful to see. Thank you for sharing this story - it really touched my heart that a whole town got together to do this for him. Melts my heart knowing that this was done and such an inspiration...

  7. Hi Sylvia,
    A beautiful share with some calm and thoughtful images - thank you for inspiring me.
    the life coach

  8. Thank You Sylvia, it is so inspiring and I am so thankful that You share with us your beatiful texts and photos, Thank You! :)

  9. ooh I love your Blog!
    I am going follow you on your blog.

    Miranda xoxo

  10. BONJOUR SYLVIA! How lovely of you to come and visit my blog post. I had a very hard time getting my comments to work but they finally are functioning, and thank you for visiting. I hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!


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