I wrote a year ago about the Christmas spirit, and how it lifts us all up. Ahh, that felt good. I also wrote about homeless people, and other downers like war and refugees. It’s almost become a recurring theme. 1 The connection is that doing good helps make us feel good, and for many people Christmas brings that to mind. Salvation Army kettles and all that. Besides, it is set in our national character that our country is a beacon of hope to the world; our greatness depends upon our goodness. I mentioned the fact that Colorado takes in about 2,000 refugees a year, and that the number was expected to increase. Then last month, on the subject of how many refugees are accepted into the US and how that number is determined, I mentioned in a footnote to the article that the number is set annually by the President.
The number is set annually by the President.
Some people, with reference to President-elect Trump, are cheering an anticipated curtailment of the number of humanitarian rescues we offer to the war-torn world. Dim that damn beacon! Hell, turn it off! Others, predictably, are not. Some of the members of the latter group are (at least figuratively) running for their lives.
We’re hearing a lot about tweets in the news, mainly because of @realDonaldTrump, who has made tweeting into a medium of policy announcement and public amusement. Then there’s Bana Alabed, a little girl from Aleppo, Syria, whose mother, Fatemah, got her a Twitter account (@AlabedBana) to show the world what the war was like through her eyes. The video below is an interview after she was finally evacuated from her neighborhood…
… if you’ll take a moment to scroll through the past few months of her life in East Aleppo and see what it was like, you can do that on Twitter, here. Go down to before December 19, when she escaped. She is part of a generation of children raised in a city being reduced to rubble, in the continuing violence following from the “Arab Spring” that began almost-her-whole-lifetime ago.
In this season of celebrating Peace on Earth, what is one to do?
I wrote about this last year, but I’ll repeat myself.
“Sing along with me now…
Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath’ring winter fuel.
(Remember, fyoo-OOO-ell. Ha! Now to the ending.)
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing.
That thing about blessings coming back to those who give of themselves: I’m not sure we made a big point of that when we sang about good old King Pretzelsauce in grade school. It’s a thought, though. It should work for people who are not Christian men as well. For my Christian friends, it is good to remember that everything Jesus did in his ministry pointed toward peace. Peace is a concept held as an ideal. Christmas reminds us to address our cognitive dissonance, the difference between Peace on Earth and mercy mild and the realities of cold streets with homeless sleeping under cardboard; war refugees living in tents out in the snow; hardened hearts living in fear of terrorists. It is not only hope, but also deeds that sustain good — and peace — in the world.”