Merry Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is December 25th, what most think of as the end of the season.  But me, I see it as the “middle child” in our trilogy of American holidays.  We started back on Thanksgiving, preparing for the renewal that comes at the start of the New Year.  The thing is, January 1st can often be a disappointment. Not because your goals or resolutions were unrealistic, but because you didn’t properly prepare yourself spiritually.  That’s the process I’m going through.  So now that you cleared away the unnecessary distractions in your life on Thanksgiving (both material and otherwise) Christmas is the time to stop and think about what you really have and what it is you are truly grateful for.  This Christmas, I say that instead of spending the day saying, “Merry Christmas,” maybe it’s time we started to instead say, “Thank you.”

Christmas is a time for gratitude.  Think about just how blessed you are, and not just for your friends and family and whatever may be under the tree.  Think bigger. Think deeper.  Think of the Christ child and what he grew up to do.  What did he give up for you?  What are you willing to give up for others?  This is a time for service. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  Be a shelter for someone else.  Help shoulder a burden and lighten someone’s load.  You, me…we all deserve a second chance, and that clean slate comes in the form of God’s redemption.  It’s the one gift we can all receive whenever we’re ready to accept it.  His redemption is always there for you, and not just on December 25th.

Be humble, get down on your knees and help your family rise up by getting down on their knees with you.  Christmas is a glorious time of year and perhaps the best time to remember the saying that goes, “All that is not given is lost.”  Show your gratitude through deeds and not just words.  Reflect on who you really are and what you really have. And through it all, be grateful that you’re here to experience it and know that the path towards redeeming your own life runs through the lives of others who also need help.  Then and only then can you be ready for what lies ahead in the New Year.  What a year it’s going to be!

May God bless you always, and I wish for you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Cartoons are taking over facebook

So you may have noticed your Facebook friends changing their profile pictures to cartoon characters from the 70s, 80s and 90s between posting ‘I drink’ statuses over the past couple of days, and it turns out that it’s another Facebook meme to “raise awareness” for an important issue. This time it’s violence against children.

People are changing their profile pictures to their favorite childhood cartoon character and then posting a status (there are several iterations of it floating around — some of which don’t even mention violence against children at all) telling everyone what the meme is about.

Apparently it has evolved from a series of statuses posted by Greek facebook users a few weeks ago, and the child abuse element was added after the meme had already gained some momentum and reached English-speaking countries. Now with a cause behind it, it’s going viral.

At least this one, unlike the ‘I drink,’ ‘I like it’ and bra color memes before it, is inclusive. The Breast Cancer memes are mind-boggling because they’re asking people to participate in the name of “raising awareness”, but the only people who are aware of what’s going on are the participants. There’s a logic failure there. So it’s a step in the right direction to see this meme explaining itself out in the open. What still doesn’t make sense to me is how “awareness raising” is better than actually volunteering time or making a donation to a worthy foundation.

I definitely understand people’s exceitement at the meme, because nostalgia! Shared memories! Fun conversation starters with randos in your social network! 70s cartoon characters were badass!

But I also understand the general sense of frustration that keeps cropping up at different ends of the internet. Because, come on, at the end of the day, what is this really doing for kids?

Something as simple as including a link in the statuses to organizations like St. Jude’s, who work to find cures for childhood caner, would make this meme infinitely more helpful to its cause.

So hey — if you’re gonna participate in this thing (and I know you are, you junkies), do it right. Take the couple of seconds to paste a link into your status and make a donation yourself.