The Christmas Season – and all it brings with it…

It’s a wonderful time of the year, make no mistake about it. At the same time, we tend to completely forget all of the things that we take for granted. We get the sense of giving, there’s no doubt about that. If you have any questions about this, one need only search Black Friday in your favorite search engine. Images of frantic people mauling each other for the latest gadget, the newest toy, the biggest television are sure to pop up. Please understand that I’m a gadget person and I own a nice flat screen television – yes, in this regard, I am absolutely a hypocrite.

As a teacher, I’ve come to realize that this an awesome time of year for many of our students. At the same time, I’ve seen how difficult a time it can be for many of our students as well. For many, Christmas is a time for those without to see those with get more and more. And it seems as if there’s no end to how much we give… In addition, we must keep in mind that for many of our students — who are spending the holidays without both parents — for whatever reason that may be, this is an added stressor. Phone calls attempt to replace the actual person, but we all know this isn’t always a viable substitute. For those of us who have the opportunity to spend time with family, let’s not forget that we are fortunate to do so. Watch Elf or Christmas Vacation or A Christmas Story.

Laugh. Cry. Remember.

1984. I was 13 years old and remember Band Aid vividly. I remember seeing all of the photographs of children starving in Africa and I remember the hype around the group of musicians who were assembling in order to try to do something about it. Admittedly, I hadn’t really heard of Bob Geldof or Midge Ure prior to Do They Know It’s Christmas? but I’ve been a fan of both ever since. I’ve heard the versions done since, but none compare in my mind.

It’s almost 30 years later, but the song still resonates with me. There are still children starving in Africa and I know that this is what the song was created to publicize. But there are children starving here, too. There are people in need all around us — both physically and mentally. Perhaps we could use this song to help us to remember these people as well. Perhaps it will inspire us to spend a little less on ourselves and each other and help somebody else instead.

I remember my Uncle Paul’s reaction to the song when it first came out. Specifically, he objected to the line that Bono sang: Well, tonight thank god it’s them, instead of you. At 13 I can assure you that this didn’t mean anything to me — but he’s right. We shouldn’t be thanking anybody that we aren’t suffering while other people are. I wish that people remembered the full context of this song — it’s true meaning should never be forgotten.