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I promised myself NO MORE CHRISTMAS POSTS today. And yet I started to respond to a comment Lori Strawn left on The Christmas Truce and I figure I’ve got one left in me!

Lord Drollery and I were sitting at breakfast talking this morning about how the spirit of Christmas just seems to be missing this year. His comment was that it seems to be getting a little less EVERY year now. It would be really easy to chalk that up to getting older, but I don’t think that’s the reason. Nor does he.

Screen-Shot-2013-12-01-at-9.10.07-AMDrollery believes the fact that we now have “global” families to stay in touch with means less time with our families of origin. Now I grant that’s probably true for a lot of people. You can’t go anywhere these days and get away from cell phones and tablets. And how many of those calls have to do with folks in Timbuktu? And how often do we pick up that same phone and call our parents? Our kids? Our siblings? Our extended family?

Talking to long distance efriends seems so much more fun. They don’t have to be around us to see our weird quirks, our bad moods, the tension that goes on at family dinners. It’s easy to understand the draw. So I get what he’s saying.

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But for me it’s something else. There’s a Christmas song I’ve hated since the first time I heard it. It’s called Do They Know It’s Christmas. It was done by a group of musicians called Band Aid in 1984. On the surface it seems like it’s a song concerned with the less fortunate of the world. But there is one line in that song that totally puts me off and spoils it for me. Here are the lyrics. Can you tell which line it is?

It’s Christmas time; there’s no need to be afraid
At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish 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
It’s hard, but when you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there
Are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you
And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life
Crop-yield-trends-insufficient-to-feed-the-world-in-2050-Study_strict_xxlOh, where nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow
Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?
Here’s to you, raise a glass for ev’ryone
Here’s to them, underneath that burning sun
Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?
Feed the world
Feed the world
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmastime
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmastime
`

Did you catch it? Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you. What a self-centered, trite, shallow thing to say! And yet I think the words hit me right in my heart. I am so much more aware these days of the plight of (especially) the kids in other countries that it’s hard to be totally caught up in Christmas anymore. As much as I hate that line, it convicts me to my soul.

spartans-feed-the-world-1_lgDrollery and I go out of our way to reach out and help in our community year round, but especially at Christmas. Operation Christmas Child, Project Angel Tree, The Community Food Bank, the Salvation Army kettles, Stop Hunger Now… But I am, none-the-less, overwhelmed with the awareness of global need. And so my normally festive Christmas spirit these last few years has been tempered by the great enlightening of the internet.

In all seriousness, I do find those words extremely offensive and even shaming. But Brandon brought it to my attention that another Band Aid group has done the song now with updated words. And that line now reads: Well tonight we’re reaching out and touching you.

I’m glad of that. It makes me like the song a whole lot better. I still feel convicted by the song for sure, but I don’t feel shamed by it.

Will Drollery and I ever see a revival of the Christmas spirit we used to have? Maybe. Maybe not. It would certainly be more fun if our four grandkiddos lived here. But either way, being mindful of this big wide world of ours in need is not a bad thing. If poverty (especially of spirit) is ever going to change, then we need to be reminded of that first-world attitude of ours. In the meantime that conviction can certainly be assuaged beginning here at home.

CH_HOMELESS2015_3_12869176_ver1.0_640_480So if you haven’t done something nice for someone just for the heck of it yet this Christmas, what are you waiting for? Get up off your keister and go find someone to visit. Serve at a food kitchen. Take some canned goods or hams and turkeys into your local food bank. Just do SOMETHING! I guarantee the feeling of helping will be the best present you’ll get this holiday season. Promise!

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The newer version of the song:

 

Picture Credits:
heart — jsimens.com
album cover — www.allmusic.com
fallow ground — www.foodnavigator.com
feed the world — msutoday.msu.edu
soup kitchen — www.naplesnews.com

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