A Christmas Prayer

God help us to end poverty in our time.

The poverty of having a child with too little to eat and no place to
sleep, no air, sunlight and space to breathe, bask, and grow.

The poverty of watching your child suffer hunger or get sicker and
sicker and not knowing what to do or how to get help because you
don’t have another dime or a car, money, or health insurance.

The poverty of working your fingers to the bone every day taking care
of somebody else’s children and neglecting your own, and still
not being able to pay your bills.

The poverty of having a job which does not let you afford a stable
place to live and being terrified you’ll become homeless and
lose your children to foster care.

The poverty of losing your job, running out of unemployment benefits,
and no other help in sight.

The poverty of working all your life caring for your own children and
having to start all over again caring for the grandchildren you love.

The poverty of earning a college degree, having children, opening a
day care center, and taking home $300 a week-or a month-if
you’re lucky.

The poverty of loneliness and isolation and alienation-having no
one to call or visit, tell you where to get help, assist you in
getting it, or care if you’re living or dead.

The poverty of having too much and sharing too little and having the
burden of nothing to carry.

The poverty of convenient blindness and deafness and indifference to
others.

The poverty of low aim and paltry purpose, of weak will and tiny
vision, of big meetings and small actions, of loud talk and sullen
grudging service.

The poverty of believing in nothing, standing for nothing, sharing
nothing, sacrificing nothing, struggling with others for nothing.

The poverty of pride and ingratitude for God’s gifts of life and
children and family and freedom and home and country and not wanting
for others what you want for yourself.

The poverty of greed for more and more and more, ignoring, blaming,
and exploiting the needy, and taking from the weak to please the
strong.

The poverty of addiction to more and more things; drugs, drink, work,
self, violence, power, fleeting fame, and an unjust status quo.

The poverty of fear which keeps you from doing the thing you think is
right.

The poverty of convenient ignorance about the needs of those around
you and of despair and cynicism.

God help us end poverty in our time, in all its faces and places,
young and old, rural, urban, suburban and small town too, and in every
color of humans You have made everywhere.

God help us to end poverty in our time in all its guises-inside
and out-physical and spiritual, so that all our and Your
children may live the lives that you intend.

First published in Child Watch on december 16, 2011 by Marian Wright Edelman, President of Children’s Defense Fund.

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