Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Other Side of Christmas

Religious festivals are, among other things, about thinking of others and not taking all we have in life for granted since, there but for good fortune, go you and I...

For those men and women (some of them gay) fighting wherever there is conflict for a better, kinder, world,  may the future hold some real progress in that direction. As for the politicians who send them there, let’s hope they won’t lose sight of those finer aims either, in spite of being preoccupied, as they invariably are, with their own personal standing on the world stage. Nor should we forget loved ones left behind while those in the thick of war risk their lives on a daily basis.

Many fight another war, this time on the Home Front; against poverty, prejudice, loneliness, depression, rejection, unemployment…

I recall, some years ago now, sympathising with a elderly neighbour who had fallen on hard times after a company in which he had been a major shareholder collapsed. " A bad business," he agreed, "but it's as the wife says, so long as we have family and [or]friends we care about and who care about us, who needs shares in anything else?"  At the time, it struck me as a rather trite comment, a way of saving face perhaps. In my 70's now, I often contemplate the wisdom of those words, and cherish the sense of well-being with which they never fail to fill me.

Unhappy people have told me how they hate being told to count their blessings because they are too few. Maybe they - and more, if not all of us - need to look (and count) again...?


No Christmas tree in the window,
no cards or festive decoration,
no real interest in some Baby Jesus,
cause of starry-eyed celebration

As for listening out for reindeer,
deaf ears will catch no sound
or bells ringing out glad tidings
of great joy to (all?) mankind

No joy in snowflakes whirling past
like dervishes on a battlefield
assured of spoils in this, my city,
by climate change across the world

As for taking comfort and delight
in any religious celebration,
fat chance, when all its factions
primed for eternal division…

Nothing special for Christmas lunch
(but better than going hungry)
yet I dare say we’ll survive another
parody of common humanity

Some folks struggle, same folks cope
for shares in Love, Guardian of Hope 

Copyright R. N. Taber 2009

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