Twas the Night before Christmas

I imagine that many of us will be spending Christmas Eve with family and possibly friends, eating way too much food and in many cases feeling sick because of it. Gluttony is its own reward, as I always say.

Then either tonight or tomorrow morning we will be giving each other gifts no-one needs that most of us possibly couldn’t afford to buy or perhaps being sneaky about it and cross-giving gifts that in essence mean we each got to buy our own gift but blame it on someone else.

I thought at this time it might be helpful for us to stop. And remember the many, many people across our land who do not get to do such a thing. Those without access to clean water or inside toilets or any kind of exaggerated meal for Christmas. It is a good occasion for us to check our privilege and wonder how we can perhaps do it better next year.

To do this, I thought I would take a well-known positive Christmas poem and give it a bit more of a local spin to perhaps catch a little more of the heart of what  might be happening out there somewhere:


Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the shack

Not a turkey was  carved, as there was such a lack

No stockings were hung by no chimney with care

As there wasn’t much hope that St Nick would come there.

The children were cramped, many stuck in one ‘bed’

While sounds of police sirens danced in their heads

Mama in her nightgown and me with no cap

Were preparing to endure another freezing night’s nap

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter

Away to the ‘window’ I flew like a flash

Gazed out to the night and saw mostly just trash

The moon shone some light on dirty streets below

And I wondered, “Had Santa come here?” Alas, no.

As tonight, for our family, had been much the same

We did not have a feast, carol songs or a game.

We just hoped against hope that we would make it through

As the rich folk drove past thinking, “What’s wrong with you?

If you’d only worked harder. If you’d tried a lot more.

Maybe then you’d be wealthy like us and not poor. “

I returned to my ‘bed’ and curled up like a ball

As I wondered if things would ever change here at all

But something inside me said, “Don’t give up yet.

So much work to be done, but we mustn’t forget:

On the first Christmas night, so much seemed to be bleak

No room in the inn for this baby born meek

So He lay with the animals in a place that was smelly

While a life and a fire raged in that small belly

It began in a place that resembled a shack

And the story continues, there’s no looking back

So we all are invited to pause, be reflective

Take stock of our lives and invite good perspective

This beautiful land has so much potential

But it needs to be shared, that much is essential

The journey ahead is still long and confusing

We must continue to engage in all the places we’re using

We must get our hands dirty, we must put our feet in

And commit to be part of a much needed win

May we yet see a time when the haves and have nots

Sit around the same table with their past hurts forgot

When the gap has been narrowed and there’s balance in sight

Then we truly can say, “And to ALL a good night.”

[Disputed authorship but original poem first published on Dec. 23, 1823 in the Troy Sentinel newspaper in upstate New York.]

That is not the world’s greatest poem. And it probably does a shabby job at communicating a glimpse of what I am hoping to. But the main point is all of us realising that there are many who don’t have it as good as us. And what are we going to do about it? Not just for one day or one moment or event at Christmas. But also as we hit 2016 and in the day to day of how we live our lives and the decisions we make about work and resources and money and who we spend time with.

Have a super great day.

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