Do They Know It's Christmas?

Hi all....I know, an editor "should" say Dear Reader, but I'm not the editor so I'll stick to my usual "Hi all".    :o)

Our editor Barb Bavido has been facing big computer problems (viruses and worms) causing some files to be lost, including her opening article. She also had to deal with a sink hole combined with a power outage in the past few days and she's now on her way to family, so she has unfortunately not been able to get all articles to me for uploading. If you find your article missing in the Table of Contents, please resend it to if you still have it and I'll put it in ASAP.

Because a newsletter needs an opening article by the editor, and the original got lost, I've taken the liberty to write something instead, hence the "Voice of the non-editor."

You may have been wondering why it's titled "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

Maybe mentioning "Band Aid" and Bob Geldof will ring a bell.

This year twenty years ago, Ethiopia was facing a huge famine and millions of people were on the brink of dying from starvation. When the BBC broadcasted a report about this situation several weeks before Christmas, Bob Geldof saw this report and thought something should be done about it. And he felt it had to appeal to the Christmas thought. After a few days he had the song ready, lined up the most famous British pop stars to sing the song, all showing up for free, and the revenues would be spent to help the starving Ethiopians.

The title of that song is "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

What nobody expected at the time was how much of a success this project would become. After all, it was the "greedy eighties" as that period was later called and people were expected to be somewhat egotistical etc.. But the project and the song and how people responded to it showed what the spirit of Christmas is really about and how many people believe in that. They reached out and felt they could make a difference and create *hope* for a better future for the people in Ethiopia. And unlike most Christmas events, this was something that lasted long after that Christmas was over, 20 years in this case.

Christmas is not just about having a good time with relatives and friends, and eating lots of food. It's also about love and peace, most people would say.

But what's not said as often as the love and peace, is that Christmas is also about compassion, reaching out to those in need and distress and perhaps most of all... hope for better times, especially if the past year has been a troubled year.

And this is something that has brought many of you into the SayWhatClub. Looking for other people with hearing loss, to share experiences, to find help or information, and after a while, to reach out to new members and help them and give them hope that things will improve over time, or support those who feel distressed because of hearing loss.

However, we are more than just our hearing losses. Most of us can spend these holidays with our beloved ones and experience joy and happiness. Some of us can't, for whatever reason. Their hearing losses prevent them from taking part in the Christmas celebrations. Their loved ones are in other parts of the world, sometimes under difficult circumstances like Iraq or Afghanistan or in other troubled areas as charity or relief aid workers, or they are away for work, ill or they can't visit their loved ones because they cannot afford the travel. Some of us are experiencing their first Christmas without their loved ones due to illness or accident; Some of us are facing the loss of our loved ones in the near future.

For these people, Christmas and the upcoming New Year's Eve is not the most fun period in their lives. And with all the commercial pressure of "having" to make Christmas a wonderful time with big banquets, expensive gifts, the frenzy etc. the spririt and meaning of Christmas can fade into the background. And this is something that is sometimes overlooked and because of that some may wonder, "Do they KNOW it's Christmas?"

If you know of people who are having a hard time during these days, whether it is for one of the reasons mentioned above or something else, it would be nice to show you know it's Christmas by letting them know they haven't been forgotten.

We're also close to starting a new year, and of course we'll wish our loved ones, friends and others a happy new year and good health, luck etc.

There is an Irish saying to wish someone well for the new year.... "May the past year have been your worst year." When I wished that to others, they were initially a bit surprised by this quite odd-sounding wish, but when I explained it, it made sense to them, though it still sounds a bit odd. It means that if the past year has been your worst year, then all the coming years should be better, so when you wish this to someone, you're basically wishing that you hope that their future will be better than the past year. And this also brings us back to Christmas as a time for hope of a better future.

So instead of saying all the "usual" wishes I'll end this with the "odd" Irish wish, and perhaps you may use it too for your loved ones , friends and anyone else, as an expression of hope for a better future.

Enjoy the newsletter and....May the past year have been your worst year.

Arthur Veen


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