Christmas is a time for reflection; on a year just past, on loved ones no longer with us, on the value of family and on the promise of days stretching and brighter prospects for the year ahead.
For many it can be a time of worry, of sadness and despair. Many children will wake up Christmas morning in a hotel, a hostel or refuge. Some will wake up in a cold damp caravan or a chalet in a direct provision centre. Some children may even wake up on the streets of our cities.
We think of those who have lost loved ones over the past year; particularly those who have lost a family member or friend through tragic circumstances.
For other living things on this planet, Christmas day is just another day to get through. Now we are finding that many species are being lost day by day at an alarming rate. It will take collective and very dedicated action to halt species loss and prevent runaway climate change. But I believe that we have it within our gift to turn the political tide and to be the change we want to see.
As we prepare for these special few days; we should take time to reflect on the lives of people living in poverty, under the constant threat of conflict such as Yemen and Syria, for those who are fleeing such persecution and seeking a new home. Let’s redouble our efforts to support organisations who work with people fleeing such turmoil, buy ethical gifts, donate to good causes, light a candle at home or in your place of worship.
Call in on people who are feeling lonely, on elderly neighbours or just family and friends that You may have fallen out with.
Most of all, the biggest difference we can make at Christmas is to tread lightly on the earth. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need or stuff that is produced by abusing labour rights or using child labour. Be an ethical consumer; buy organic, free range where possible, buy enough but not too much and try to minimise the amount of plastic You buy because invariably it will end up in a landfill, incinerator or in the belly of a whale .
Get out into nature over Christmas and appreciate all it has to give; it’s benefit to our mental health and to our daily lives. Take time to listen to nature, in your local park or woods, by the sea or by a river and enjoy what Wendell Berry calls ‘the peace of wild things’.
The Christmas message is one of renewal, of hope and of peace.
My message to You as a Green public representative in your community is to cherish the simplicity of the love of family and friendship but also to look towards the year ahead as an activist, an active participant in changing the narrative, to work collaboratively towards a more just, equal and safe planet for all living things.
Nollaig Shona agus athbliain faoi mhaise