For many, Christmas is a very special time of the year. Its origins are religious as it is the celebration of the birth of Christ, although this aspect has diminished with time, as has the adherence of Christian beliefs and subsequently church attendance. However, we all still enjoy singing and listening to Christmas carols, many of which were originally written as hymns.
“Peace and goodwill to all men” is a saying we often hear quoted during the Festive Season. The words will be seen printed on Christmas cards and banners. The phrase actually comes from the Gospel of St. Luke in the New Testament. These few words succinctly demonstrate the warm feelings that emanate at Christmas, with its spirit of generosity, showing kindness to our fellow man and extolling our hopes for the future.
We enjoy putting up decorations, wrapping presents, sending Christmas cards, decorating the tree, be it real or artificial, and doing the enormous ‘Christmas Shop’ which would feed a small, third world country. In the midst of this warmth and bonhomie we enjoy here in the leafy glades of Cheshire we easily forget the parents and children dying cruelly and needlessly in famine and war zones. There will be no presents for them.
The United Nations estimated each year 25,000 people still die of hunger every day. That means more than 9 million people die of hunger every year. If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, there would be:
14 from the Western Hemisphere, including north and south Africa.
52 would be female,
48 would be male.
70 would be non-white,
30 would be white.
70 would be non-Christian,
30 would be Christian.
89 would be heterosexual,
11 would be homosexual.
6 people would possess 59% of the world’s wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.
80 would live in sub-standard housing.
70 would be unable to read.
50 would suffer from malnutrition.
1 would be near death;
1 would be near birth.
1 (yes, only 1) would have a university education.
1 would own a computer.
If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank and spare change in your pocket you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. And if you can read this message, you are more blessed than more than the two billion people in the world who cannot read at all. So perhaps, as we raise a glass to toast Christmas whilst we open our presents, we really should count our blessings.
We wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and we shall see you in the New Year.