Over 25,000 children die every day around the world.
* 1 child dying every 3.5 seconds
* 17-18 children dying every minute
* Over 9 million children dying every year
* Some 70 million children dying between 2000 and 2007
“The silent killers are poverty, hunger, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes. In spite of the scale of this daily/ongoing catastrophe, it rarely manages to achieve, much less sustain, prime-time, headline coverage.”
The above is from
and is based on a UNICEF report. (Source: http://www.educationforjustice.org/resources/fourth-sunday-advent-c-december-20-2009)
[This post has a number of links. If you do not do anything else, please watch the last video from YouTube; however, I encourage you to check out all the links.]
Micah says that the child who will shepherd the people will come forth from Bethlehem of Judea. Paul exhorts the members of the community to grow in love. Mary travels long and far from Nazareth in Galilee to Ein Karem, near Jerusalem, to be with her cousin, Elizabeth, during her pregnancy.
Elizabeth greets Mary with “Blessed are you.” Given the God-given dignity of each person, this should be our customary greeting to others. Soon Elizabeth will give birth to John who will pave the path for Jesus. Soon Mary will give birth to Jesus who will shepherd God’s people.
Micah tells us that He will be Peace. To be peace means to bring justice to a world where justice takes a back seat to greed.
I was just starting to get into the Christmas spirit. I was listening to more Christmas music especially Handel’s Messiah. A child will be born to us. There is hope.
Then, a reality check. On the Education for Justice site (http://www.educationforjustice.org/resources/fourth-sunday-advent-c-december-20-2009), I read a startling statistics printed above. It tells me that on the day we will celebrate the birth of Jesus 25,000 children around the world will die as a result of hunger, poverty and preventable diseases. In the very minute that Jesus is born 17-18 children will die. This is sobering. This is disconcerting. This is most troubling.
The magnitude of the problem defies strategies for resolving the problem. What can we as Christians who believe in the coming of Jesus and believe in the inherent dignity of each human person do? Can we make a dent in the problem?
It is difficult for one person to have an impact; however, every time one person teams up with others, we come closer to alleviating human misery.
I think of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Harvard degreed doctor of medicine and anthropology. Paul founded Partners in Health and has worked to being healing in Haiti, Peru and Russia. he and his Foundation have made a difference for God’s people. “Our mission is to provide a preferential option for the poor in healthcare.” Watch Paul’s video (http://act.pih.org/page/s/thisibelievefwd). It is his message of belief and hope.
I think of Margaret Trost who founded the What If Foundation to feed children in Father Jean-Juste’s St. Clare parish in Port-au-Prince Haiti. (http://whatiffoundation.org/) The Foundation feeds children and enrolls them in school and a summer camp. Watch Margaret on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKIanUToYj8).
I think of Ferdinand Mafood and his Food for the Poor. “Food for the Poor is the number one international relief and development charity in the United States, feeding 2 million poor every day. Our Christian relief programs and projects are helping children and the poorest of the poor by providing food, housing, health care, education, water projects, emergency relief and micro-enterprise assistance in the Caribbean and Latin America.” Ferdinand helped me to internalize Matthew 25. This is the Gospel. This is what justice is all about. (http://www.foodforthepoor.org/)
I think of George Kloster, pastor of St. William in Murphy, NC and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Hayesville, NC. His experiences from traveling in Central and South America led to the formation of a relationship with our sister community in Somotillo, Nicaragua. Children who cannot attend public schools for various reasons are being educated at an elementary school in Somotillo (San Ignacio) and an agricultural technical school in a rural area (IBRA) without electricity. IBRA now has solar panels and they are able to run a computer lab at the school. (http://www.charlottediocese.org/customers/101092709242178/filemanager/CNH%20Docs/Mission05.pdf)
These are but a few examples. I urge you to partner with someone or some group that is making a dent in childhood deaths.
Watch this Christmas song–Child of the Poor/What Child is This? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEkdr62eVMY&feature=related)