I saw this picture on Facebook a few days ago and it has haunted me ever since. Every time I look at this picture it makes me cry, literally. How dare we as a human race let his happen! How can we just continue to fill our coffer more and more while there are others, children, who go to bed hungry every night? I will be the first to admit that I am right there with everyone else. Christmas has become more and more commercial, and as much as I try to remind my children (and myself for that matter) that the true reason we celebrate Christmas is to remember the birth of Christ, it just gets lost sometimes in all the shopping and decorating and things.
After I saw this picture I went home and talked to my husband about it and decided that we are going to rethink Christmas this year. (He is all for slimming down Christmas and not because of the money, but because he has been to and lived in multiple 3rd world countries.) One thing I did was look into the World Food Programme. It is the United Nations program to help fight hunger around the world. For just $50 you can feed a school child for a year! A YEAR, oftentimes for the price of just one gift under the tree.
So, that night we had a family meeting, showed this picture to the kids and told them that we have decided to take $50 from each of their "Christmas budgets" and give it to the World Food Programme in honor of them. My 13 year old took it the hardest, although she completely understands, but did tell us that it made her a little sad. We live in an affluent area where although I think her Christmases border on the lavish they pale in comparison to quite a few of her friends, so I get it. I see where she is coming from. But I also know in the long run she will feel the spirit in which this is meant. It is hopefully saving the life of another child in honor of her. Someday she will look back and it will mean something to her. She will have forgotten what she got from "Santa Clause" but she will remember this.
I sometime suffer from the feelings of "I can't change it all by myself," which is true I can't, but I can at least do something. There are plenty of opportunities to help others though out the year. I am hoping that I remember to take those opportunities. We don't have a lot of excess when you look at our "neighbors" but when you look at the world at-large we are truly and richly blessed. It is my goal to always remember that and to always try and make the life of someone else a little better in any way I can.
So, go and do something for your fellow man, whatever that might be. Just try and make someone else's day a little better, a little brighter then it was before you came along. You won't regret it, I promise!
(Oh and as a side note, I've seen people try and counter the whole Christmas thing being based around Christ with the fact that it is based on a pagan holiday. Yes I do realize that our Christmas is actually based on a pagan holiday, but I also know that it is the spirit that counts. Heavenly Father and Jesus understand when we are celebrating for the right reason (as long as we are). Christians back in the day just converted pagan holidays over to Christian holidays so as to make the transition/conversion for all those pesky pagans to Christianity easier. :-)