There was a song that came out in 1984 by the group “Bandaid” which was part of a huge charity concert for the starving children of Ethiopia. One of the songs that came out of that concert was “Do they know it’s Christmas?” Do you “old folks remember it? The liens went like this:
“It’s Christmas time; there’s no need to be afraid.
At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish the shade.
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time.
But say a prayer to pray for the other ones
At Christmas time…”
The song goes into the struggle of the people in Ethiopia who are living in drought and dying of starvation. The song goes back and forth between both worlds: the world of affluence where all are shopping and preparing for the feast and the world of poverty where living another day is truly a gift. The song asked the crucial question whether the rest of the world in the midst of their suffering even knows it’s Christmas. I don’t want to fill us all with guilt on this feast but I like the question. If we took away the lights, the trees, the gifts, the dinners, would anyone know it’s Christmas time at all? Maybe then we would have time to just relax with our families and be grateful for that which is most important in our lives. Maybe we could truly meditate on the mystery of God’s love for us; the mystery that God loved us so much that he chose to be one of us. In that choice, the Divine entered the world in a new way making all of us sacred in our humanity. It is that wondrous gift that we celebrate and it is the cause of our deepest joy! So if we took away all the trappings from the Christmas celebrations, my greatest hope would be that the world would know it’s Christmas by the love of these followers of Jesus. In the season of Christ’s birth, may we allow that Love to be reborn in our hearts. May we live in a spirit of gratitude for that has been given to us. May the world know it’s Christmas by the hope, and joy and love we bring to all our brothers and sisters. Let’s not waste this Christmas on stuff that’s not important. If you didn’t get the right sweater, or you hate the scarf you received or your turkey was dry or the rolls got burned, don’t let it bother you. Put gravy on the turkey, scrape the burn marks off the rolls, and wear the ugly sweater and just laugh…It’s not that important. Keep remembering why we celebrate. As the song says, “throw you arms around the world, it’s CHRISTMAS”