It's Christmas and We Are the Magi
Outside it's misty and cold. The sun is trying to break through and the sky glowing pink. I watch the light show, tea cup in hand.
Today in our country there are around 65 million people. More than fifteen million live in poverty and the number grows by the hour. I don't think they're noticing the colour of the sky or sipping tea, or necessarily warm and living indoors. Even worse, I don't know who they are. Where they are. Apparently, nobody does.
I have several kinds of appliances here that will communicate just about anywhere. This computer and three landline phones and an android mobile. All day long I'm getting messages. It's “Black Friday” or some phony occasion and there's another sale on clothes, washing machines and craft supplies. The latest text says I need to make an appointment with the dental hygienist. There's a special price on heating oil if you order half a tank or more.
But nobody can call me to say "I'm hungry, do you have food?" "My child just went to school without breakfast." Why is that? I've asked and been told that to search for the needy is in defiance of every "Data Protection Law." Isn't something just a bit backwards here? Why all these mechanisms to buy -- and few-to-none available to share? When do we realize the magnitude of this problem, that there are those who freeze or starve or need a coat and boots? And that they do this alone and without complaint?
As Baha'is, our family acknowledge Christmas in a spiritual sense, in alliance with our Christian friends with the belief that all religions emanate from the same God; the Divine Being who's provided revelations in various parts of the world since time began -- teachings ensuring humanity’s spiritual and practical evolution. Ours is the youngest religion on the planet, calling for world unity and declaring that work is commensurate with worship and service to mankind is the purpose of our lives.
How can I acknowledge this knowing that -- this morning and every morning -- a quarter of the people in our country are without the basics necessary to survival?
This Christmas our family has decided to celebrate by somehow finding the people who need us. Likely we won't know their names or where they live because they'll need to be identified by social services and we'll anonymously provide Christmas dinner and gifts for families we'll never meet. And that's very understandable.
But at a heart level, shouldn't there should be a "buddy system" in this world between those who need and those who'd love to give? Somewhere a phone for calling and saying "we have nothing,” answered by a voice that says, "I'll be right there”?
Meanwhile, if the Magi with nothing but prayer to guide them could find Mary and her baby thousands of miles away in a place meant for farm animals, surely we can find those who suffer all around us.
“It’s Christmas and We Are the Magi” written by Nancy Warren, Media Officer for the UK Bahá’i Office of Public Affairs