Lest we forget

donations-for-the-poor-for-blog.jpg

Our God is the God of all and we should of course, endeavour to pray for and help to provide for and care for, those with greater needs than our own. The diasdvantaged, underpriviliged, lonely, sick and housebound are not a ‘Christmas Cause’, they are an all year around people with all year around needs. But if we can make an extra effort in the Christmas Season, then perhaps we can continue to do so throughout 2008?

While we’re enjoying the warmth and security that a home provides, while we’re enjoying a family that loves us and we them, while we are fine dining; eating and drinking, perhaps to excess, others will consider themselves fortunate if they are remembered at all this Christmas. Spare a thought  for them, and a prayer, and if possible, a little bit more than that.

The Nativity Prayer of St. Augustine

 

Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.
St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-440)

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8 Responses to Lest we forget

  1. barbszy says:

    You’re absolutely right.
    My SFO fraternity was talking about the same thing at our last meeting. We usually give a Christmas gift to a nursing home for retired nuns. But we were asked, instead, to give them a gift at an “off” time of year as they are given many gifts at Christmas. There are 11 other months of the year where the need is there….

  2. Holly says:

    I’m glad you brought this up, because I was interested to hear your opinion on a related issue. (Although I should mention that I agree completely with this entire post. Yes, it happens occasionally! 😉 )
    Where do you stand on the issue of “giving a Christmas” in the sense of helping less advantaged in having gifts and a large Christmas meal? I’ve been thinking about this a bit recently because we do feel more charitable at Christmas and there are so many opportunities to give. I was doing some shopping recently and they had one of those giving trees with little tags with a name and age of a child. You can select one and buy an appropriate toy and it will be passed on to the child. I considered doing it before realising that if I was going to be charitable with thirty-odd dollars it should be to helping people who have greater problems than a lack of teddy bears and Bratz dolls. I’m a member of my local Freecycle and I hear about all the messages people post to Freecycle at this time of year begging for others to “give a family a Christmas” before making a list of their (usually numerous) children and what they would like to receive. (If you are not familiar with Freecycle, it is a grass-roots organisation that seeks only to keep things out of landfill by providing a forum for people to offer up goods for the collection of others. People may receive things they need but the purpose has nothing to do with charity).
    I must admit it annoys me a little. For starters, most people these days who celebrate Christmas aren’t exactly celebrating Christmas, they are celebrating ‘Giftmas’ and I don’t see why others should buy their kids presents just for the sake of their annual gift giving tradition. If they are genuinely celebrating Christmas as Christmas, then having to go without toys isn’t a tragedy. Make things for each other. Give IOUs for special days at the park. No kid ‘needs’ a Nintendo DS. (Yes, people actually post requests for that kind of thing, because rubbish tips are full of expensive gaming systems).
    I feel quite conflicted on the whole thing. Even typing this rant made me feel quite Scroogey. I would be interested to hear the opinion of one much more pious than I.

  3. warren says:

    Yes we ought to do good all year, but at Christmas, I think we should be siphoning off some of that money we were going to over-spend on crass commercialization and make a big donation before we spend it.

    Let’s remember the rest of the planet, not just our own back yard too. Africa remains the poorest continent on the globe, with political, economic, health and justice issues that dwarf the problems on every other continent by a large amount. Rural India is also very poor.

    My boys and I adopted two little girls from India this year, a month or so ago, and we are going to keep that up permanently. Much better than to just forget on December 26th about the world’s poor.

    W

  4. O says:

    We do several things and always have even during times when we ourselves had less. One year we adopted a a single mom and three kids. I’m back volunteering weekly at the soup kitchen and will be there on New Years day to help serve. We keep our giving simple so we can contribute to our parish giving tree (you select gift items to donate), contribute to the St. Vincent de Paul food bank and the like. But in a way this seems like nothing much for even the heathen (if I can be forgiven that term) know how to give good gifts to their children and others at Christmas. The challenge is to bring Advent giving into our daily living and to grow what the Canadian CEO of World Vision has called a spirit of generosity.

  5. Suzanne says:

    Merry Christmas! Suzanne

  6. Valerie says:

    What a beautiful prayer.

    Over here, we have the “Salvation Army” volunteers with their buckets at many stores during the holiday season, so one can conveniently place money into the bucket to be used for the disadvantaged. I used to only place money into the buckets once or twice, but I made a decision about three years ago to give each time I see a bucket. Sometimes, it might be only a dollar or two, but other times, I try to give more. My girls are now starting to do the same, now that they have jobs of their own.

  7. ukok says:

    Barb,

    That’s a very interesting take on this whole thing too. Perhaps too often we think of charitable giving as salving our consciences at Christmas time, a time of overspending and self indulgence. Whereas the recipient of our charitable donations, will perhaps be in no less need on the other 364 days of the year.

    Good point!

    Holly,

    I’m glad you agree with the post!

    Firstly, I must say I’m intrigued by the idea of freecycling. I must look into that, because I’d be very interested in finding out about whether there i an organisation of that sort, set up over here in England.

    Now it’s my turn to agree with you. For a lot of people ‘Giftmas’ has indeed replaced Christmas.

    But, I will be honest and tell you that while I wouldn’t have much cared if I had received Christmas presents or not before my kids came along, since having children of my own, the meaning of Christmas has changed for me. My kids don’t get a lot of stuff during the year, except for birthdays and Christmas.

    On Birthdays and Christmas though, I like to make those days really special for my children. And that’s why I don’t bellieve we should feel guilty that we have food to eat, warmth, accomodation or any such the ‘luxuries’ (for luxuries they are to those without them), but I do believe we should feel blessed and give thanks to God for what we have.

    Personally, we (as a family) do this by choosing to put God first on Christmas Day. For a lot of people I know, going to Mass on Christmas Day itself is an inconvenience ( a pm Mass on Christmas Eve does fulfill the Catholic obligation) but as far as I’m concerned it’s not an option, we go visit Jesus on his birthday.

    This helps us to get everything in perspective, because on Christmas morning my kids are chomping at the bit to get to their prezzies, just like any other kids. They need to learn restraint. They need to learn to give God greater precidence than their desire to open their presents.

    I believe if we place God at the centre of our lives then everything God has blessed us with can be freely enjoyed.
    And we can enjoy our blessings even more, when we share them with others. Not only with those in our own family’s of course, but in sharing the good things we have, whether big or small.

    God Bless!

    p.s. I’m really not pious, honestly I’m not! I need all the prayers I can get to help me get through any given day!

  8. ukok says:

    Hope that made sense, it’s the early hours of the morning here and I’ve been responding to comments for the last couple of hours and my body is screaming out to be tucked up in bed!

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