Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We feel blessed and happy this year as we open gifts and enjoy the fellowship of friends and family. We are especially grateful that our children are healthy, happy and productive. At the same time, we shed tears and offer prayers for the many children around the world who are not doing so well. At this moment, thousands of children are huddled with their parents at our southern border seeking the safety and security they cannot find in their home country. Many thousands more are experiencing the devastation of war in Syria and in Yemen. Palestinian children in Gaza are huddled in fear in the midst of regular bombing attacks. Children in my hometown Flint, Michigan are still suffering the effects of lead contamination in their public drinking water.
So yes, we are happy and grateful for our good fortune, but we cannot forget others or stop seeking to improve the world we live in. This is especially true today, as it appears that many of our so-called leaders and a large segment of the general population have lost their way. Christ compels us to care for the least of these, and to love our fellow human beings as we love ourselves. We have never needed the spirit of Christmas more than we need it right now.
I remember that, when I was growing up in Flint, some kids, instead of trick-or-treating on Halloween, collected donations for UNICEF – the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. Yesterday, I looked up UNICEF (unicef.org) and was pleased to see that they are still engaged in their life-saving work on behalf of children all over the world. Eager to take at least one tiny step, I made a donation. I’m sure there are many organizations attempting to come to the rescue of embattled children, and I hope that, rather than simply feeling helpless, people will take whatever steps they can to protect and help children. That’s my Christmas wish in 2018.