Yes, he was crying about a goat. This friend had recognized long ago that he had basically everything he needed, and hadn’t asked for anything for Christmas. Instead of buying him things he didn’t want, his family pitched in and did some good in his name. It was a small gesture, but a meaningful one – it changed life for one village, one family.
Christmas is, quite frequently, “go time” for charities – when a family member worked in development for a non-profit, Christmas was always her busiest time. There’s a pressure to think of someone other than one’s self at this time, which encourages and embraces selfless giving.
Today, I’d ask you to think of a specific person. Or rather, a specific group of people: women.
There was a video posted earlier this year on International Women’s Day done by the UK organization, We Are Equals. Featuring Dame Judi Dench reprising her role as “M” from the popular Bond series and Daniel Craig as James Bond in a rather surprising role, the question is asked: “Are we equals?”
Dench cites some very powerful statistics in her voiceover: women do 2/3rds of the world’s labor, yet earn only 10% of the total income and own only 1% of the world’s property. 70 million girls worldwide don’t have a basic education. 60 million are sexually assaulted on their way to school.
We hear tales of school girls in Afghanistan being bombed, raped, and attacked with acid because they dared be educated. Women in Saudi Arabia who wish to simply leave their home without a male relative accompanying them are arrested for driving. Women in Nepal find that they cannot return to their home villages after being sexually trafficked because they are now “sullied.” Many young girls across the world do not have a choice in who they marry – a luxury afforded and scorned by many in the West. And still staggering more girls across the world will be pregnant and HIV positive by the time US teenagers are graduating high school.
The struggle that women around the world face is uniquely hard – many encounter hardships that would not have existed had they simply been born male. And there is a lot of work to be done alongside those women who are helping their communities to fight this prejudice.
One of the reasons I am glad to contribute toward World Vision’s “12 Blogs of Christmas” this year is their emphasis on women. The World Vision gift guide contains a special section where you can buy gifts targeted at helping women in communities around the globe. In short, World Vision gets it.
In short, women are one half of the population of earth: that’s 3.5 billion people. And all over the world, they are kept from succeeding, from contributing, from being the people God has made them to be because of sexist laws, governments, and activist groups. By supporting a woman’s right to education, to live a life free from fear, to support herself, and to get medical care when she needs it, we are participating in the community that reflects a spirit of Christmas – a spirit that doesn’t just end at New Year’s, but has effects for years to come.
Join World Vision's 12 blogs of Christmas -- a Christmas project of more than 20 bloggers from various walks of life and faith who will be blogging their own ideas about the true spirit of Christmas.
And you're invited to participate!
Simply write a blog post or take a picture or make a video -- blog something that, for you, represents your idea of the true spirit of Christmas -- and then, once it's live and featured on your blog, "link it up" to our 12 Blogs of Christmas.