I’m sitting on the steps of a public school hall hearing the band play Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Around me there are children singing, waving glow sticks, laughing and a few tears, elderly men and women perhaps remembering their younger days. There is a craft table buzzing with activity, young and old learning together. A local photographer has set up a nativity scene with dress ups for bubs and siblings. There is nothing like a 7 month old dressed up as a sheep sitting in hay. The atmosphere is sparkling. There is a beautiful community spirit here.
After the past days and weeks of seeing the outcome of the Sydney siege, the pain and suffering in all corners of the world it is hard not to be more vigilant. Who is really sitting next to me in a café or riding the train with me. I’ve noticed I’m locking my doors more. No more freedom of coming and going. Locking myself inside my home and backyard. Is it fear or as I tell myself, I am being cautious not knowing who is around. Protecting my children at all costs. But am I overdoing it? I used to roam the streets exploring when I was a child. I was free. I loved it. It was a different type of community back then. I would know all my neighbours. We’d have bon fires sharing every joy, triumph and challenge and supporting each other. There seems to be less of that these days. Instead there is more TV, computer games and more forms of technology to keep us connected. But are we more disconnected than ever?
Joy to the World is playing now and I realise the Christmas and community spirit are far from dead. Mums and dads are chatting. They are sharing stories and sharing their lives. Life’s challenges are easier to confront when faced together with support and love. There are children making new friends with bonds being formed. We are trusting again and allowing ourselves to be free. Free from the fear. The community spirit might be less in some places but the more we allow ourselves to trust and make a new friend or help a neighbour the world will be better and let the community spirit reign.