Sunday, December 17, 2006

My Christmas wish...year-round justice

Call me a bah humbug, but I'm not a big fan of Christmas.

I was in the toy department of Target the other day and overheard a couple of White families talking to each other about purchasing gifts for the "less fortunate." The children were pointing out games and toys they liked and their father eagerly encouraged them to get several of each one enthusiastically claiming, "There will be over a thousand kids there!" A few people walked by and inquisitively asked what they were doing...to which they eagerly told them of their efforts to purchase items for "less fortunate" children who would be coming to their event.

As the kids perused through the toy aisles looking for toys to purchase and give away, I heard their mom say, "These kids are going to be 'dark-skinned' kids so we need to find some 'dark-skinned' dolls." Something about the whole thing didn't set right with me. I suppose I should give them credit and even commend them for taking into account the "darker skin" of the kids they would be giving toys to. Some people don't even do that much. I know that their intentions were probably good. It still struck a nerve with me. I wondered what their conversation sounded like to the other possibly "less fortunate" or "dark-skinned" people who might have been shopping around them.

After thinking about this scenario a while, I finally realized why all of this hype and giving to the "less fortunate" bothers me.

The people giving the gifts don't know the people they are giving to.

They don't know them before the event, nor do they seek to build a relationship with them after the event.

What happens the other 364 days of the year after Christmas is over?

Are these same people who are "getting into the Christmas spirit" by giving gifts and encouraging their children to "have fun" purchasing the gifts for "less fortunate people" putting the same efforts forth the rest of the year to help raise the minimum wage, hire under-skilled people and train them to have marketable job skills, tutor a child to help him/her grasp necessary concepts, work with someone on a part of the GED they can't seem to pass, or help someone fill out the paperwork and forms needed for them to go to college so that when future Christmas's roll around more families can afford to provide Christmas gifts for their own children?

If Christmas is about Christ, shouldn't we be working toward Christmas (being Christ-like) year-round? What would that look like? Is being Christ-like about charity...or justice?

"Let justice roll down like waters..." Amos 5:24
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