28 December, 2007

A miserly Christmas and a flabby new year!

So I won’t go on an obvious and typical rant about the excesses of Christmas in the Western world. I do love the Christmas season. Mostly I love watching children. They must find the whole occasion bizarre until they are old enough to place it into context. But imagine Christmas from a small child’s perspective. Everyone is happy, everyone is together, everyone gives them gifts and they are able to eat copious amounts of chocolate and desserts without anyone blinking an eye. What I find slightly uncomfortable is the way adults are at Christmas time. It’s like the act of generosity and good will is so stressful they become catatonic. We shop and we cook and we race around just so that everyone is happy! It’s very strange. And the excesses! (Ok, maybe I will go on a rant!) On one day I managed to have two roasts and ate six kinds of animal! (Sorry Sean!) What’s even more disturbing is that after the motherload of Christmas, every man and his dog attempts to park at the local shopping centre to take advantage of the bargains we might ‘need’! Don’t get me wrong, Christmas was great, but I guess I am just lost in the disparity of the world, and on this occasion in particular, the disparity between my actions and my values. You see this morning I woke up to read that Benazir Bhutto, the leader of Pakistan's largest opposition party, had been assassinated. Now I don’t know enough about Pakistani politics or the situation to make any comment worth reading, except that I do know that she was fighting for a better Pakistan and was killed in the process. When asked about her political motives she stated "I feel that what I am doing is for a good cause, for a right cause to save Pakistan from extremists and militants and to build regional security.” She also stated, “I know the dangers are there, but I'm prepared to take those risks.” Here she was fighting for…well let’s not even call it democracy and let’s just label it ‘a quest for stability’, and she lost her life in the battle. One of the worst parts about this, is that is it not surprising! To be honest I am actually surprised she lasted as long as she did. So on one side of the world we have people dying for freedom and peace, and on the other side of the world we have people drowning in it. We don’t even realize that by engaging in the typical excesses of this season, we are compromising our Christian values, the very reason for the season. I say I want justice for the world, but the only pain I feel is vomitous indigestion. I guess what I am saying is that, until we change our world we are not going to change ‘the’ world. As Christians in the ‘first’ world, the ‘developed’ world, the ‘free’ world, it’s time we stopped acting as though we deserve the gifts we have received. We have to start closing the gap between the message we profess and the actions we exhibit. Otherwise, we will be as much use to God in bringing about justice as the singing fish mounted on your wall!


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