“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6v8
As you do your Christmas shopping, or flick through the music channels on your tv over the festive period, you’ll probably hear at some stage the Shakin’ Stevens song, “Merry Christmas Everyone”
At Christmas, especially on the TV and in shops everything tends to get quite romanticized, with the dream of a winter wonderland, and the family curled up by the fire. But in the real world it’s not like that. In the words of the Band Aid song, at Christmas ‘there’s a world outside your window, and it’s a world of dread and fear’. So this Christmas, spare a thought for those who won’t be having a merry Christmas.
People like the 5000 children who will die from water related diseases on Christmas day1.
People like the families of the 7200 people who will die of an AIDS related illness whilst you are opening your presents and enjoying your turkey.2
People like the parents of the 19,200 children who will die from hunger, on a day most of us eat way more than we should3.
People like the 5760 children who will be orphaned by AIDS on Christmas Day4.
Those facts don’t making for easy reading. And that’s just on Christmas Day. During the 24 days of advent a further 580,800 children will have died from water related diseases and hunger combined, and 172,800 people from AIDS related diseases.
Why am I telling you all this? In the hope of stirring up compassion. In the hope that after reading this you will remember this Christmas that the message of peace and goodwill to all men means we have to do something about this. We can’t just stand by and watch. We need to get active, and we need to get active fast.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the greatest gift in history, the gift of life. This Christmas we need to take the gift of life out to people who are suffering from AIDS, from hunger, from poor sanitation. And not just at Christmas. Its not just dogs that aren’t just for Christmas. The gift of life is not just something to think about at Christmas when charities are urging you to give a present that will help the third world. It’s something we need to care about all year. As you tuck into your turkey, remember the millions that will be going without. As you open your presents spare a thought for the many that will get nothing. Remember that it won’t be a merry Christmas for everyone. And resolve to do something about it in the year ahead, and maybe next year the statistics won’t be so shocking.
1 – Source = tearfund
2 – Based on the fact the 5 people die every minute from an AIDS related illness. (5 x 60 minutes x 24 hours : a simple sum with a shocking answer)
3 – Based on stats from http://rehydrate.org/facts/ending_hunger.htm
4 – Source = Tearfund