Monday, December 12, 2005

7-years-old and No Christmas

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.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

True, the meaning of Christmas has really gotten very commercial, and even Christians have fallen into the gift buying trap. I can recall when my children were young and we were living from can't to ain't, Christmas was unusually stressful for me as a single parent. I explained to my kids early on that I was Santa, and that Santa had a broke down car with less than a 1/4 tank of gas. I taught them that we were to just be grateful for life, and that we had each other. Those times are so memorable and precious. We have a system that everyone gets one gift and I pull out all the stops and cook them a meal fit for a king. We always invite someone over that would not have a good meal or a family to celebrate with. I heard from a grandmother today that is raising 2 small grandchildren alone on her disibility check,and lives in the housing development. She has a lot of pride, and for her to call and sak for help was hard for her, but she can see a Christmas with out toys, food or warm clothes in sight for her grandchildren. She is at the end of what she can provide, she is at "ain't". I sent out an e-mail to some friends that I know have plenty, and I pray that they see the real meaning of Christmas and help this family. I have met them and know that she is doing her very best, and she takes them to church to show them the light.She will share my family's meal this year. We cannot fix the whole world and its greed and commercialism, but we can do out part in our sphere of influence, to shead a little light in some very dark places. If every Chrisitan shed light where they could, things would begin to look a lot brighter.

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