Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Relevant Night Before Christmas....

photo from

A Relevant Night Before Christmas
by Lesli Jamison

Twas the night before Christmas, when all throughout,
The homeless were huddled, the broken turned out.
The desires and wishes of humanity sparked,
But action and empathy were hidden by the dark.
The children were displayed in a window for a price;
While men chose 'wisely' which one looked most nice.
Innocence lost because of action forgotten.
Joy and happiness stolen for the devils' begotten.
When out in the slums, women beg for their dinner,
I sat inactive. A self indulging sinner.
Away from the headlines, I turned my head;
Tore open a book, looking for an escape instead.
But the visions of hollowed out eyes sick with AIDS
Disrupted my abdication on the first page.
When what to my wondering eyes should I spy,
But the announcement that many innocents shall die.
Die of illness, die of violence, die of monstrosities so dire;
I knew in an instant, to what I must aspire.
More rapid my heart beats inundated my brain,
These children, these women they are not without name.
Their hurt and their sorrow is not just theirs to carry.
Come compassion! Come love! We all must not tarry!
Now sympathy, empathy, peace and relief!
Stop hatred and violence! We command you to cease!
To the depths of my heart, to the depths of my soul,
I cry for forgiveness for inactions great role.
As tears of distress stream down my pained face,
Conviction and motivation find a new place.
So up I jump wildly, ignorant of my surroundings,
With the hopes of a generation hanging by my new findings.
And then, in a twinkling, I felt most distinct,
A new hope forming; humanities great link.
We are not here for our individual plans.
People. All people are our mission we MUST understand.
This vision was cloaked with an aggressive alacrity,
Despite knowledge of evils most evident tenacity.
A child appears, gripping hope by the reigns.
Witnessing, for the first time, a true, unyielding change.
His eyes, how they sparkle! His smile, how it shines!
For never before had someone been kind.
His heart, how relieved to know this hell will not pervade.
Living in slums without food; made a slave.
His malnutrition is vanquished, clean water abounds,
Educations clear voice is the sweetest of sounds.
His sister will laugh with unadulterated bliss,
Instead of hiding shame from being raped by those that are remiss.
She too, will find peace in knowledges great arms,
Using information to protect her people from harm.
The spark of hope in the children of desolations eyes,
Soon gave me to know we COULD attain this prize.
Speaking not words, but walking the walk.
My challenge to you is to stand up, shout out. Give malevolence a shock.
And laying aside all our fears and our dreads,
Let us destroy depravity. Denounce debauchery. Lay it to shreds.
Lets spring to our feet. Inform, empower, invite
Humanity to involve themselves in others' plight.
I feel a great fervor forming in our midst,
Merry Christmas to ALL! Your pain is our pain! We shall persist!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Contrived Christmas...

Its that time of year again. The time of year where all of my perfectionistic expectations go unmet, my self-righteous wishes remain unfulfilled and my incorrigible romanticism with traditions sustains its' non-existent life. Ok, now that I've admitted to my absurd desires, let me attempt to re-forage my character in a way that is ever-so-slightly less narcissistic. All aforementioned yearnings fall in the category of, let's face it, inconceivably selfish motives. I envision the perfect Christmas memories complete with snow falling, carols, candlelight, and while we are at it, a host of angels singing laudably overhead. Yes, ridiculous. Especially when it comes down to the true meaning of the season. Regardless of religious affiliation, I think we all can agree that this time of year has become too much about stuff and too little about things that aren't necessarily tangible but prevalently more profound and meaningful.

I am curious behind peoples traditions and motivations for the holiday season. As our economy hangs by a loose thread, we, as Americans, are being forced to rethink our fiscal 'dedication' to the holidays. More and more I see people drowning in financial subjugation or a sense of responsibility to monetarily challenge the 'Jones'. When will the all-mighty dollar finally lose out to game nights and home made gifts? When we spend our time instead of our money, we retain the money in our bank accounts along with a sense of selfless dedication to something that lasts.

Even after evaluating our choices during this season of love (even better if we dedicated this to the entire year) when do we decide to focus our thoughts, prayers, and money if we so have, onto others? When do humans become our responsibility rather than an inconvenience? I have worn the banner of self involved, over indulged holiday extraordinaire, and I must say, it was not note worthy. The crowded mall. The time spent acrimoniously fighting over a parking spot. The hours lost with our precious family members while we are stressing over credit card statements. This is what we have to show for our consumeristic outlook on Christmas. Maybe it is fortuitous that certain books and articles have been placed in my hands this past month that have reminded me of my place in this chapter of life. I just recently finished Half the Sky by Nickolas Kristof and am continuing to inundate myself with information that not only pulls me out of the ignorance gap, but motivates me to not just sympathize but empathize. Information regarding our beloved compatriots in life, will always trump 'stuff'. I encourage us to look past our glossy ornaments and frosted window panes and into the hells that haunt many areas of our beloved planet. We have the opportunity and presence of mind to bring a real Christmas miracle to the starving, raped, and demoralized. A bit more meaningful than yet another neck tie, huh?

"Worship fully. Spend Less. Give more. Love all" (Wise words brought to you by Let's conspire to live this season in a way that reflects love of people not love of the mundane and ordinary. For material possessions are anything but extraordinary. They come, they fall apart, the go to our dumps. Human beings shouldn't be treated as expendable items. Dedicate the time you have to loving on people. Treating them as the special individuals that they are. Celebrate through the giving of yourself for no other gift will find itself more cherished.