Friday, December 1, 2006

We Only Have Poor At Christmas

‘Tis the Season to . . . overindulge in food and drink, spend a lot of money you don’t have on people you may not even like, and pretend you give a damn about others.
For three weeks and a bit millions of Christians go the whole hog in making an effort to be Christian. Between eating and drinking and shopping and trying not to get caught or kill someone while driving home soused they give a bit to the poor. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s wonderful. A family gets a turkey. A kid gets a present. The poor, or at least some of them, have some semblance of normalcy for a day.
But where are these good, giving people the other 11 months of the year? Poor, hungry needy people are here 12 months of the year. By January, the poor are largely forgotten. If we happen to see one, then we cross the street or avert our eyes.
It’s their own damn fault they’re poor, we tell ourselves. Maybe they’re working off some karma, or simply decided to spend a lifetime outside the main flow of society.
Maybe that’s exactly what these people chose. Good for them. I believe we learn way more in a life of adversity than we do jetting around the world being famous for being famous. But that’s not the issue.
When a soul chooses a life of poverty or homelessness or the like, it is also giving the rest of us a chance to grow. We are being given a glorious opportunity to reach out to another person and recognize that when you help someone you help yourself.
You can help in many ways and not all of them involve money or materials. Even if you can’t afford to give anything at least acknowledge that the poor person shivering on the street is a person. Send a warm thought or some white light his or her way, and a thank you for the lesson that’s being offered.

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