How does a seven-year-old boy "do" Christmas when his family has no money for any kind of celebration?
Hundreds of little boys and girls who live in the inner city here in Dallas will wake up Christmas morning to discover Santa didn't find their homes. Of course, some of these children don't have homes.
Over the past decade, I have to tell you I have become something of a Scrooge just because of this reality and the accompanying panic that sets in among low-income families who have no disposable income for gifts or anything much special at Christmas.
Give-away efforts abound.
We run one here at CDM that is a bit different. Families work and learn for the right to shop at our "store." If you want to help out with our "Christmas Store" visit our website at www.CentralDallasMinistries.org or call Joanna Clifton (972-470-9593) or Lalla Shackelford (214-823-4409).
Two things get me every year at Christmas.
First, the kids who receive little or nothing, when so many receive and have access to so much. The disparities are obscene and, frankly, sickening to me.
Second, the Christmas situation points me on to the rest of the year. You know, the regular days. Families with no funds for the holidays don't do much, if any better throughout the year.
No surprise these same children struggle at school, live in households where food insecurity is a real problem, endure the difficultly of inadequate access to good health care, watch parents who work hard, but struggle with the endless frustrations of not earning enough to make life work, and try to find a place to call their own in sub-standard housing located in really tough, neglected neighborhoods.
Distressing need at Christmas is upsetting mainly because of what it reveals about a child's life--all of it, not just the holiday experience.
Giving toys is a good thing. I shopped for my angel over the weekend.
But the problems are much deeper, requiring a more comprehensive, intelligent, creative, sacrificial, systemic, tenacious response.
Poor kids need our help, but even more they and their families need a fair shake.
Can we commit to work for that as the New Year arrives?
Christmas should and would be healthier for everyone if the rest of the year worked out better for so many of our children, many of whom will be looking for Santa in a couple of weeks only to be disappointed one more time.