Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Do we know it's Christmas?

I have always liked the song "Do They Know it's Christmas", but for some reason it always put me a little on edge as well. I guess I had always thought that was the intention of the song... to make us think, to make us feel a little guilty for all our excesses here in the States. But yesterday, as I drove to the mall to finish up my shopping, I sat and listened to the song again. I realized exactly what it is that has bothered me all along. It's that one line... the title of the song. "Do they know it's Christmas?"

I get the idea of the song. It was a wonderful project and an incredibly successful fundraiser for a worthy cause. But how presumptuous of anyone to question whether someone knows it's Christmas just because they live in a third world country. How sad it is that we have all come to believe that we "know" Christmas because of our trees and parties and eggnog and our expensive gifts. 

Pipo arrived just a week before Christmas 3 years ago, and I know it was overwhelming for him. With the language barrier back then, it was impossible for him to tell us exactly what he was feeling, but I would love to have gotten inside his head. I am pretty sure he thought we were all nuts with the tree inside our house, and lights hanging on the outside, and the fat guy in the red suit everywhere. But the one thing he definitely knew, and knew with a faith that humbled me, was that Christmas was the birthday of Jesus.  

In the 3 years since, that faith has come through many times. This is a boy who has lived the life of all those people 'Bandaid' was trying to save back in the 80's. He has seen the devastation of Aids firsthand, he has gone without meals, he has gone without water. But he never was without faith, without God.  He had never seen a Christmas tree, or tasted eggnog, but you can bet he knew what Christmas was about, and without any English at all, he let us know that he knew.

As I sat in traffic yesterday, I wondered what someone from a third world country would be thinking if they had a glimpse of America these last few days. They would see the haggard people, standing in long lines, bleary eyed and sucking down luke warm coffee while trying to buy that last minute gift. And I am pretty sure I know what they would be thinking... they would look at us Americans and think "Do they know it's Christmas?"


Becky said...

Wow...gave me chills. Merry Christmas.

Laurel said...

Great post! Thanks!

Laurel :)

JourneytoFamily said...

Wow. What a beautiful post. And such a good reminder of what Christmas is all about.

Merry Christmas!

Alyson said...

This is soooo true.


Jane (a.k.a. patjrsmom) said...

Amen. And a very Merry and Blessed Christmas to you all!

God Bless,