Open Doors: Playing the role of Santa and being a true “St. Nick” can make the world of difference

Rev. Shelley McVea at St. Saviours Anglican Church is encouraging all of us to “play the role” of Santa Claus this December. As Rev. McVea learned while recovering after being hit by a car earlier this year, even the tiniest gesture or word can make a world of difference.



This year I believe that I have met many real St. Nicholases. They all had that whiff of heavenly generosity and miraculous feats about them. And many of them reside right here in the Beach.


As I began the last day of my holidays I thought I’d better get a few groceries, as it would be ‘back to work’ the next day. It was early in the morning and I was almost at my destination when I was hit by a car at an intersection.


I’d never been hit by a car before – I don’t recommend it.


But I was lucky. The first Santa was right beside me when I came to – holding my (bloody) head in his hands and telling me not to move. He was an off-duty paramedic who happened to be walking by when the accident occurred. Thank you sir, whoever you are.


I thankfully did not have a concussion, so was aware of what was happening during the next few hours. I had many injuries – broken bones and ribs, vertigo, scrapes, and bruises, stitches and staples.


Every one of the paramedics and police attending me were kind and reassuring to me during those early hours. Thank you all. And apologies to all the people who lost power for a few hours that day.


My long stay in the hospital was definitely not what I would have chosen, but the medical team wanted to ensure I was okay before they would release me.


Once again, I was amazed at how kind and caring they were. Despite being crazy busy, they were always cheerful and helpful when they came to see me. Even the food was okay! My friend (who is a chaplain at another hospital) alerted this hospital’s spiritual director to come to visit me. He came for a chat and brought me a Bible. Thank you to all the Michael Garron Hospital staff who helped me during my stay.


Over the last three months of my recovery I have witnessed again and again the incredible generosity of friends, family, Church, and daycare, and Beach neighbours.


I came home from the hospital and my back yard had been mowed. Another neighbour came over and fed my cat twice a day. Offers of “can I do your shopping for you?” arrived weekly. Cards, flowers, books, DVDs and meal upon meal arrived daily. Friends I had not heard from for years started up Facebook connections again. Porch visits (safely distanced) were frequent occurrences. A wonderful, recently retired Priest came and pinch-hit for me at our church for the entire three months. I am blessed.


Most of us know that many of our friends have “St. Nick” tendencies, and when bad things happen, they’re on it.


What also heartened me was the kindness of so many merchants on Kingston Road. We are good acquaintances, not close friends. But their heart felt greetings when I was finally able to be out-and-about was really touching. And their generous gifts of flowers, chocolate, fruit, etc. was truly unexpected.


This holiday season I want to thank all of the “St. Nicks” that have touched my life in such positive ways over the last three months.


And I’d like to encourage all of us to “play the role” of Santa Claus this December. Even the tiniest gesture or word can make a world of difference. I know.


Rev. Shelley McVea is priest at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church located at the corner of Kimberley Swanwick Ave. Services are at 10:30 a.m.on Sundays, in person or via Zoom. Christmas Eve service at 7:30 p.m.


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