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Dear Pope, please cancel Christmas

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It’s time to cancel Christmas because Christmas no longer makes sense; partly because it never made sense. Why must we celebrate Christ’s birth? If it’s such a big deal, surely it deserves greater recognition than once per year.

I firmly believe that Jesus does not need (and would rather not have) a party in his honour. I think that Christ would be offended by all the gluttony, because many of his people are hungry, and just as many are starving.

Do away with food and presents. The only way to celebrate Christmas is to ‘be’ a Christian, and this means to embrace the season of giving by ‘giving to total strangers’ who are in need, and who can never repay us.

Being a Christian means celebrating the season of joy by invoking joy in the hearts of those who suffer poverty and loneliness.

As for wishing anyone a ‘merry’ Christmas, you can forget all about that. Don’t wish for anything. Instead, go ‘do’ something to spread merriment to ‘the sick’ in hospitals and ‘the sad’ at nursing homes.

The idea of proclaiming ‘goodwill’ to all, is pathetic, if it is not followed by good deeds to those who need someone to cut their lawn, or to take them to a doctor, or to mend their broken light-switch.

As I write my letter to His Holiness, 800 refugees are being released (from detention centres) into the community throughout Australia. 800 people who do not have a pencil between them. No language skills, no driver’s license, not a blanket amongst them. 800 of God’s people are filtering into our communities alone and frightened, and completely poor, after suffering horrendous hardship in their homeland — thanks to brutal idiots who have no concept of peace. While these asylum seekers join us, how are we welcoming them? Or are we dashing through shopping centres in search of useless gifts and exotic food?

The language of Christmas is broken. Jesus came to help the oppressed and the persecuted. He came to liberate the lost souls. His messages are chronicled in the Bible. However, if you don’t have time to read the Bible, here is a four-letter summary: L O V E. Christ had one message: to go out and love God’s people.

It is beyond me how anyone can celebrate Christmas without loving strangers through acts of love, charity, and generosity. I am appalled and disgusted by my Christian friends who speak of Christianity, yet do not DO Christianity.

I am also sickened by the do-gooder Christians who attend Bible study classes every week, to massage their conscience, and in the end, when they see human suffering, they close their eyes and say, ‘Let’s pray’. No mate! Let’s NOT pray. Put your Bible down, get in your car, and take the whole family with you, and pack your tools, some blankets, spare shirts, tinned fruit, a small hamper, a hammer, some kitchen utensils, a heater, a few bottles of juice, and go visit someone who hasn’t two brass farthings to rub together. Get a working-bee organised and get a home-maintenance crew to help out. Then, as the sun is setting, take everyone to the local hall or park, and have a picnic. Teach your family how to LOVE this Christmas, by engaging in ‘Christianity in ACTION’. Teach your children to think about how to give, as opposed to how to ask for gifts from Santa!

Therefore, stop praying for people, and start being a blessing to those who are in desperate need of practical support. If you do not know where to start, search for the local Church or The Salvation Army Corp or Red Cross or St Vincent de Paul centres and volunteer your whole clan. Tell these charities what kinds of skills you all possess, and offer to assist. If you have trades people in your group, go fix all the leaking taps. If you have good drivers in your group, offer to help a few people to learn how to drive. If you have computer skills, offer to conduct a training program. If you can swim, teach a family about water safety. Whatever you are good at, whether it’s cooking, cleaning, sewing, or language skills, offer your services in the weeks leading up to, and beyond, Christmas, and then at the end of each hard day’s work, gather together for a meal and give praise for your skills, for Christ’s influence in your life, and for the joy of giving.

As Christ tried to tell us all, go give of yourself this Christmas. Give of your time. Show how much you love Christ by loving his people, and do this by starting with the downtrodden.

I challenge you to stop uttering the useless words this Christmas, and instead, let this be a Christmas of ‘doing’.

If you wish anything for anyone, be part of the wish coming true.

Don’t hope. Be someone’s hope come true.

Don’t pray. Be someone’s prayer answered.

P.S. My sister, Dr T Nader, was keen to remind me that the Pope is not the master of Christmas. Of course I know that. Nonetheless, her email read, ‘Some very good points but we need to remember that the Pope does not own Christmas nor does he in fact own Christianity. The Christianity you speak of, the original message of Christ, cannot exist inside any organised religion, because the minute it is co-opted by any church it is twisted and modified beyond recognition. The real message of Christ can only exist in the heart of a human being who has been touched by another human being. So my message, very similar to yours, is to touch another human being this Christmas.’

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