I have my car radio tuned to a station that is currently playing just Christmas songs, and I’m mostly really loving it. Except when one song comes on that I really take objection to. Now, I know I am in a minority here – maybe even in a minority of one! – but it really gets me every time.
It all starts for me when Bono sings “tonight thank God it’s them instead of you”.
Now, being thankful that it’s not me suffering is a great thing – being thankful for our own good fortune is something that I think we should do more of! But being thankful that someone else IS suffering? Really? “Thank you God that these people are suffering” does not sound to me like a great prayer.
I’m still thinking about that when Will Young complains that “there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime”. So? I could name any number of countries that there won’t be snow in. Its called climate – different places have different weather. There won’t be snow in Australia this Christmastime either – what does that prove? There probably won’t be snow in Southampton, England or Orlando, Florida either, shall we sing about them?
And, just as I’m thinking of the people of Australia eating their Christmas lunch on the beach with no snow, and how horrible that must be for them, here comes the refrain: “Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?”.
Well, you know, maybe not.
Maybe they are more preoccupied with their own problems, than worrying about a holiday celebrated by Western people eating and drinking more than is good for them, and spending more money in one day than most of these people have in a year.
Maybe, worrying about where their next drop of water is coming from may be more to the front of their minds than sending out Christmas cards or wrapping presents.
OK I will admit that in the outro the whole company sing “let them know it’s Christmas” – and if by that they mean to spread peace and harmony – and even some resources – to those that need them, then that is all well and good. But I still come back to the thought that the song starts off by thanking God that it was them suffering.
OK rant over – well, until the next time this song comes on the radio. And until then Merry Christmas, and a Happy, and Thankful, New Year to one and all.