Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Have yourself a very little Christmas

A few years ago I wrote a little rant about consumerism at Christmas. To my great amusement the first comment on the post was spam advertising Christmas hampers. The irony. Added grist to my mill, needless to say.

Right, so let's get this straight: I love friendship, being together, family, fun and games, warmth and generosity. If that's how you celebrate the season, I'm with you (and I venture to say that God - not the killjoy we sometimes present him as - would agree).

But this poem - written some years ago, but updated today - is to say again that as a follower of Jesus, I can't, I simply can't, commerorate his birth by abandoning everything he stood for, everything he said.

So the poem, a plea to abandon consumerism precisely because it's Christmas, is called 'Have yourself a very little Christmas' It's an anti-advert. Works best read out loud - but you may just have to imagine that.

Have yourself a very little Christmas: an anti-advert

You’ll all have seen that jolly chap
dressed all in red and furry white
with pressies stuffed into his sack
and reindeer trained for turbo flight
– but did you know that Santa’s suit
was first designed by Coca Cola
in 1931 to loot
the world? A big fat dollar
for corporate fat cats to get fatter?
Last year eleven billion pounds
were borrowed to fund the Xmas platter
of the rich – and if that sounds
not filthy enough then you may need
to consider that eleven billion notes
is enough, by far, for a year, to feed
fifty million of the poorest poor…
Please: kick sick consumerism out the door.

See, Jesus is not some stained glass sissy
looking woefully down from Cathedral windows:
he’s angry; he’s fuming against hypocrisy,
yelling “Woe to the rich” to the pious offenders
who tithe full of pride and let justice go hang
– and “Blessed are the poor”, “Forsake all and follow”:
get out of the rat race, so shallow and hollow:

Come out of the inn: no room for me there
far from chestnut roasting firelight,
my squalling fogs bleak midwinter air,
and gold quickly sold funds a refugee flight.
From wood of the trough to wood of the cross
from roadside birth to borrowed tomb
from curse of king to mother’s sore loss
I never asked the world for room.

Slam the door; make sure you lock it;
follow the leader means do what I say – like
not running in circles to line every pocket;
like: give it all up; like: give it away.

Like what you're hearing? Like what you've heard?
Wanna be in my gang now you know about my birth?
Like what you're hearing? Like what you've heard?
Would you own all creation
and inherit the earth?

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