Saturday, December 25, 2004

Do They Know?

Back in 1984, a group of musicians got together and performed a song for African hunger relief. Around this time of the year, you can flip the dial on the radio and hear it about every 10 minutes. While it was written for a specific cause at the time, the sentiment behind the song is as true today as it was 20 years ago. Substitute another area of the world, another conflict, another cause, and the feelings expressed in "Do They Know It's Christmas" are what reside at the core of every person who considers themselves a "progressive".

Is it OK to be selfish today and put the rest of the planet out of our minds? Of course. I don't think anyone could cognitively function while in a constant state of handwringing over the condition of the human species in general, or political misfortune in the U.S., in particular.

But there is a bigger picture than a Hallmark Christmas. Our collective good fortune to be born into relative Western affluence doesn't absolve us of working to right the wrongs we perceive, in whatever capacity we can. Whether it's shouting into the void of cyberspace, marching in civil protest against the status quo, or accepting a personal mission someplace where it's needed, just for the sake of the need itself. That is what the spirit of this day is about.

It doesn't matter a whit if one is Catholic, Protestant, agnostic, Muslim, Jewish, athiest, or any spiritual destination in between; the core message of the story of Jesus is exceedingly simple (and so, so missed by the old testament fundamentalists who are running this country hell-bent-for-leather into the ground):

Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

From my heart, I wish everyone in ASZ's wonderful community a happy and safe Christmas - and I relish the opportunity to be sand in the gears of the machine in the coming year. ;-)

It's Christmastime,
there's no need to be afraid
At Christmastime,
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 Christmastime

But say a prayer,
pray for the other ones
At Christmastime 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 Christmastime
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life(Oooh)
Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Here's to you raise a glass for everyone
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 again

Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmastime again