Christmas is a time for giving, for charity, for doing a shift at the local homeless shelter. If you’ve had any contact with the Christian messages associated with the season, you’ll be familiar with the charitable aspect.
However, if your giving and your social justice activities are just for Christmas, pause and ask yourself why that is. Equally, if those around you only seem to care seasonally, see if you can start a conversation about why that might be. Homeless people will still be cold and suffering in January. Charities will still need supporting.
The trouble with having a charitable dabble over the festive period is that it can ease our consciences and make us feel better about ourselves. It has a similar function to those old Lord of Misrule, Twelfth Night and Saturnalia celebrations. You get it all out of your system over a few days, and by this means, the status quo is maintained over the rest of the year.
Just as pretending a twelve year old is the Bishop for one day of the year isn’t actually a cultural revolution, a bit of seasonal charity isn’t social justice. If we want radical change, we have to commit to it as a whole year round thing. We have to start calling out the people who think they can rock up at a shelter or a food bank in December and thus qualify as decent human beings. Especially when they happen to be politicians whose policies created all the misery in the first place.
December 29th, 2018 at 3:05 pm
In the U.S., the day after Thanksgiving, people flood food kitchens etc to do service. However, come January, they are MIA.
For food banks, the summer is when they need food the most. That is when I give money to them, so they can buy what is needed. Somehow they get to be overloaded with tins of tuna ….. and little else.
December 29th, 2018 at 5:26 pm
Exactly. Doing it for the likes, the street cred.