Homeless & Hungry
Photo Credit: DoSomething.org
Since a kid growing up in Guyana, Christmas has always been a magical time of the year. My poor, working class parents always found a way to make Christmas a special time of the year for me and my four siblings. My happiest childhood memories are of our Christmas celebrations.
Following the world economic crisis of August 2008, I’ve been downsizing our Christmas celebrations, in keeping with our new socio-economic reality in the United States. Job security is a thing of the past. Joblessness, homelessness, and food insecurity are new experiences for the American middle class. The situation is no better for the working poor.
What’s also disturbing is hearing high-profile people in the media, in the business community, and among our government representatives blaming the poor for their poverty. In a number of cities across the United States, it has even become a criminal offense to feed the homeless in public spaces (National Coalition for the Homeless).
This Christmas, the magic finally fizzled out.
How can I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ – born into a poor, working class family – when it is now a crime to be poor and homeless?
How can I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ when the labor of the poor has little value?
How can I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ when my value as a human being is determined by my buying power?
How can I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ when millions of people across the United States and around the world do not enjoy the basic human rights needed for their survival?
Am I expecting too much of humankind? Are we incapable of doing what is morally correct when we wield power? Was Jesus’ coming all for nothing?