This has been the year of the Occupy movement, and even as I enjoy one of the most fulfilling and surprisingly positive Christmases in the past few years, I still can’t shake the reality that so many others aren’t having this. I can’t shake the knowledge that so many of those who feast and drink tonight will deride those who stand up for others in need and close their purses to outstretched hands asking for help.
Concern for the poor at Christmas certainly isn’t a new phenomenon, by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve never felt the awareness of the less fortunate more than I do now.
A Christmas Carol, thus, carries special relevance with me this year, especially this scene, from the Patrick Stewart version of the encounter with the Spirit of Christmas Present:
This boy is Ignorance….If you deny him, slander those who tell others about him, admit he exists, but do nothing about it, then doom will engulf you all.
I’ve been guilty of all three of these “dooms” in my life, and for 2012, I’m committing myself to making amends.
I will work harder to meet all those who deny the realities of human suffering, poverty, and misery and call them out on what they do.
I will do more to defend, in words and actions, those bright spirits who work to improve the lot of humankind from those who would stop them, or who slander those they aim to help as “lazy” or otherwise deserving of their lot in life.
And, most of all, I will go beyond simply talking about those who need help, and actually help them. I don’t know what form this will take, but I’m lucky in that I have many friends who have been walking their talk about service for years, and I will seek them out for advice and a good starting place so I, too, may serve. In 2012, I will build on the simple kindness I have tried to show all those I meet, and do more to change life on the side of light.
Because the advantages I have came from others who rendered me and mine a service at some point in the past, and it’s the way of true happiness and prosperity to pass that service on to those who need it. Right now, someone where is in need and looking to his or her brothers and sisters for aid. Right now, there is someone waiting for another to help them. Right now, someone waits for me.
If a human being in need holds out his or her hand, do you take it and lift them up? In 2012, I will commit my spirit, as Dickens wrote, to walk among my fellow men and women, and to travel far and wide in the service of others. In 2012, I commit myself to taking every hand that reaches out to me in need.
For the first time in my life, I now see the true promise of this season. I guess there’s a first time for everything.
Merry Christmas, boys and girls.