By Kathy Davis | Director of Wholistic Care
lt's the most wonderful time of the year. With the kids jingle belling, And everyone telling you, “Be of good cheer,” It's the most wonderful time of the year. It's the hap-happiest season of all.
Is it really?
Well, maybe for some people.
The shopping malls are filled. Christmas trees are decorated. The scent of evergreen fills the air. Parties are being hosted. Gifts are being purchased. Wishes are being fulfilled. Christmastime has certainly arrived.
Under the veneer of the “hap-happiest season of all”, while we are all encouraged to be of good cheer, the raw condition of worldwide human suffering, poverty, abandonment, and pain marks the reality of more than half our world. At least 71% of humanity lives on less than $10 per day.
Several years ago, during November and December, I traveled to two impoverished regions of the world. Upon my return in December, I struggled through buying gifts, eating delicacies, and “being of good cheer”. I had looked into the eyes of precious, shoeless children whose daily delicacy was rice or beans. Serving in the ministry of World Orphans has awakened me to the reality that out of 2.2 billion children in the world, 1 billion live in poverty.
For the 1.9 billion children from the developing world, there are:
- 640 million without adequate shelter (1 in 3)
- 400 million with no access to safe water (1 in 5)
- 270 million with no access to health services (1 in 7)
- 121 million children worldwide with no education
Children are not only suffering due to a lack of these essentials. Children are dying.
- 6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5
- 4 million die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.
How was I, in this new, stark awareness of worldwide need, to fulfill the Christmas wishes of my own extravagantly fed and well-clothed children whose minds cannot wrap around the word “without”? How was I to live in my own traditions here while knowing what is going on there?
My heart was broken. My eyes were opened.
I don’t have all the answers as I live within this tension. I don’t believe that I am to celebrate Christ in Christmas, yet withhold precious gifts from my children. What I do know is that I cannot turn a deaf ear or blind eye to the world around me.
The same Incarnate Christ who took on flesh, was born in a humble stable, and was familiar with grief, is also intentionally attuned to those in need, yet has granted me rich blessing. I have been blessed to hear the cries, see the physical need and witness the grave suffering of the marginalized. This has compelled me to not only pray for their needs, but to intentionally engage and act on their behalf…
… to feed the poor, care for the widow, and plead the cause of the orphan.
Two weeks ago, I experienced the great joy of hosting the gifted songwriter and musician, Aaron Boyd with Bluetree. We facilitated two evenings of Worship and Justice to bring people together to worship God and plead the cause of the orphan. Attendees were granted the opportunity to engage and give. Aaron, taking the cause to heart, will be releasing a new album in April with the intention of donating all proceeds to those in need. One of the new songs that we had a sneak peak into says:
In all of our questions, There will be an answer. In all our trials, You remain. Even in the valley, Hope is rising and peace - It has a name - Christ the Lord, Who stays the same.
As we prepare to celebrate Christ the babe, born on Christmas day, please join me in considering that even though “all is [not] calm and all is [not] bright” in our world, Christ the Savior IS born and through HIS coming and dying, there IS forgiveness of sin and HOPE for us all.
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
As World Orphans continues to empower the global church to care for orphans, would you prayerfully consider how you might engage in 2016?
For statistics, see: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats#src2