“There won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time,
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life.”
— Band Aid,
Do They Know It’s Christmas?
(Geldof & Ure, 1984)
A special item took place at the Christmas Eve service at our church. It involved three children in a game of taking and then giving presents, before these gifts were re-distributed in accordance with the world’s wealth. Ten percent (one tenth) of the world’s population was given about 85-90% (18/21) of the presents, indicating the vast majority of the world’s wealth goes to so few. Although those in severe poverty have reduced by approximately half over the past generation or so, there are still 1.4 billion people starving today.
Christmas day, therefore, is not celebrated by everyone in the fashion of gift-giving, feasting, Carol singing, or merriment and joy. Indeed, because of our fractured world there are millions, today, yes this very day, Christmas Day, whose pain is magnified.
There are those, also, who are separated from their families—the refugees—those in prisons, and those, through no fault of their own, who live in squalidness when we will, today, throw out good food, having celebrated Christmas in typical Western style.
Spare a Thought – Consider an Action
I read a tweet recently by an aid champion, someone known worldwide, imploring people to “spare a thought” for the sick and hungry and lonely this Christmas time. One wise tweeter replied suggesting that sparing a thought was not enough, but I disagree.
If we were to think (and pray) more about these matters, about our blessedness—assuming we have a comparative material richness, though we may not be ‘wealthy’, but wealthy compared to many—we might be more aware of the Holy Spirit’s leading in matters of want in our world, locally and globally.
Thinking breeds awareness and awareness breeds action.
These matters of world poverty and of the general disconnect from joy at Christmas time should cause bitterness to well up in our hearts for those who miss out. These matters should also compel us to earnestly thank God for our circumstances, for we did not choose the country and situations of our birth or the present blessed circumstances we find ourselves in.
Christmas time is a joyous time for many, but for many more it is a harder time than ever; due to poverty, conditions, loneliness, sickness, incarceration, etc. True Christ-mas spirit is a prayer for these; a prayer that may cause awareness for action.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.