Friday, November 13, 2015
“Christmas doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more . . .” ― Dr. Seuss
I find the “War on Christmas” news items to be very amusing. It’s as if that’s what would upset Jesus were He to return today. People upset over a how a gift-giving holiday is celebrated is a perfect example of a First World issue. No one exchanges gifts here in one of the poorest countries on the planet. Not at Christmas and not on birthdays. The only times gifts are given is at weddings and the guests don’t get any in return. Only the bride and groom get the things they need to start a life together which is proper in a poor country. Other than that, gifts just are not given when feeding and educating your children is the highest priority. Christmas should be a gifting time, but it should be about giving the gifts God gave you to lift the lives of those in need. We stopped giving each other gifts a number of years ago and instead give a pair of breeding goats to a new widow with small children—and there are many. We had been feeding almost a hundred orphans a day and have just recently added another fifty as the preschool, St. Penny’s decided to start feeding their forty-five kids every day. It’s just two cups of hot ujii (porridge) but that can keep a child alive and well. The cost to us is not high, less than $50 a month, and I wonder how many Americans spend more than that every month on coffee that comes with fancy names. One person’s coffee or fifty orphans fed, that’s not too hard a decision to make is it? For those who want to boycott a coffee company in the U.S. over the decorations on their cups, we would love to have the money you are saving to feed the children here who go to bed hungry each night. In fact, there are children right where you are, probably within a few miles radius of where you live that are going hungry every night. America is full of homeless, poor, and underfed children who would love to have just a tiny bit of what the affluent spend on special coffee every day. When you have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, cared for the sick, visited the prisoners, walked the extra mile, turned the other cheek, remembered the widows and orphans and loved one another as Christ loved you—then maybe you can get upset about coffee cups. Trying to explain some of the silliness that surrounds the celebration of the birth of Christ that goes on in some countries is just impossible to do here. Here, they just go to church, pray, and give thanks to God for two or three days to celebrate Christ’s birth. It is a time for Christian community and family prayer. I like it. I think it’s what Christmas is supposed to be, but that’s just me.