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CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | JULY 2022 EDITION
Celebrating the Reason
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
A Summer Prayer - Video (VIDEO)
Greats on the Field and, In Retirement – Greats Off the Field
iTunes Top 20 Christian & Gospel Albums July 2022
Longing for Life
“I Needed To Hear That!”
Redemptive Riddle: Snake On A Pole
BookMark - Relative Justice (BOOK REVIEW)
Reel Review - Minions: The Rise of Gru (MOVIE REVIEW)
THE ANGEL SAYS, “Yes, but what will you do now?” (HUMOUR)

Published December 2021
By Helena Smrcek



I can’t help but smile. I feel blessed, enveloped in fresh coffee aroma, sipping traditional Christmas special, while a friend settled opposite me and started to type her new novel. As strange as this might sound to those who do not put words on a screen as part of their life’s calling, I’m filled with a huge sense of gratefulness for a moment like this. We are back. An author friend said something interesting to me a couple of weeks ago. There is a growing sense among Christian writers that we are collectively assembling a digital library for the future. The truth is, Jesus will come, and perhaps this is our time to build our witness. As traditional Sunday mornings shifted to virtual services, and many believers are still very cautious about large gatherings, I can see her point. We need to stop debating the irrelevant, and start re-focusing on what is truly important, our Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers to every one of us. And what better time a year to do that than Christmas.

As I drove through town earlier today, checking off one errand after another, I turned on the radio. The car filled with a pop version of worship music, and even though we may not sing this particular one on a Sunday morning, I suddenly became aware that millions are listening, out there, in their cars, at work, in the shops. They may not be fully aware of the entire reason for Christmas, but perhaps they will find a moment to pause and think not only of our current troubles, but also of eternity. I’m not willing to succumb to pessimism, but I do have to admit that I often wonder if this virus is here to stay. It may take on different forms, creating panic every time a new variant rears its ugly head, but as we have all witnessed over the past twenty-some months, God created us as a pretty resilient species. We are determined to find solutions to every challenge that tries to trip us up. In addition to that, and this applies especially to us – His people - we need to shine a little brighter when the times seem dark. There are countless opportunities around us.

CBC News reported that during 2021 some 600,000 Ontarians visited a foodbank. Maybe I need to say ‘yes’ next time the cashier asks if I would like to purchase a paper bag filled with non-perishables, since our church is not organizing a food drive this year. With 6% unemployment rate and inflation rising to 4.7%, triggering price increases not only at the gas pumps and grocery stores, but along the entire supply chain, I’d suggest that we have not seen the full fallout yet. I’d venture to say that the line up at the local food bank might be even longer in 2022. Supporting churches and charitable organizations, be it with our cash or volunteer hours, will become even more important next year.

Let’s not forget those who are faced with health issues. As our own family experienced over the past two years, most are not even COVID-19 related. Compassion, empathy and a traditional casserole goes a long way, when a family cares for a loved one. The church must keep on, even outside the locked-up doors. Who in your neighbourhood could use new mittens for their kids, or perhaps a pair of boots? Which one of your friends needs prayer? A simple call, or even a non-intrusive text. Who will spend Christmas alone?

Addressing the needs of others does wonders for our emotional and spiritual health. Mindfulness, deliberate thinking about the daily miracles that God sends our way, meditation on His word, scripture reading – these simple practices may just give us enough grace to have patience with the frazzled employee trying to figure out how to manage the waiting customers behind the counter.

Christmas season is a beautiful time when the world remembers the birth of our Lord. The speakers pump out another song into the busy coffee shop, and I take it as a reminder of the real reason, the miracle that God sent our way in form of His own Son, our Saviour. As the espresso machine hisses, and the voices rise and fall, I’m once again reminded that it is not too difficult to find meaning in every role of wrapping paper, the flickering lights or a shared meal. They too serve as a reminder of the greatest gift ever, the Light of the World.

The light shines the brightest in the deepest darkness. Many of us living in North America do not remember any major trial, war or tribulation. Our continent, given it has its own share of problems, had been spared, and doesn’t carry the scars of open armed conflict, unlike many places around our broken world. So, I try to keep my life in perspective, even during those dark days when I feel that I truly can’t take another month of this. Often, I think of those pour souls during the last two world wars, who suffered so greatly, that my current situation feels like a walk in a park. I wonder how they kept their hope, waking up every morning into the most unimaginable conditions, without knowing if their suffering will ever end. How did the prisoners feel during December of 1941 when the evil reigned without restrain? I honestly feel I have lost my right to complain about anything.

Enjoy each day as if it were your last. Live your life to the fullest. Focus on now, without forgetting about eternity. Love those around you. Wake up with a smile on your face, even if your day seems filled with gloom, for God may surprise you. Be patient and kind with those who are trying their best, while you wait for your festive latte, and perhaps even pay it forward, for you don’t know if that stranger behind you needs a little pick-me-up and a silent prayer.

About the author...
Helena Smrcek
, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for her local newspaper. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.

Helena became a founding member of Write!Canada, and The Word Guild, a Canadian national association of writers and editors. She is a graduate of Jerry Jenkin’s Craftsman Class, Act One, Donald Maass’ Fire in Fiction, Writer’s Police Academy, and several mentoring programs.

She regularly attends writers’ conferences and is a past or current member of such organizations as Word Weavers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Toast Masters International, Boni, The Writer’s Guild, and others. Helena loves to participate in NaNoWriMo and hosts a writers’ group.

As an entrepreneur, she is familiar with marketing, branding, and social media. She has volunteered with YMCA, mentoring new Canadians pursuing their business dreams, and was an active member of her local Chamber of Commerce.

When not at her keyboard, Helena loves listening to audio books. Working on her hobby farm, and traveling. She lives in the Waterloo Region, Ontario, with her husband, two adult children, two dogs, several cats, and her favorite goat, Rosie.