Child Watch® Column: "Pondering the Deeper Meanings of This Holy Season"

Release Date: December 24, 2014

Marian Wright Edelman

After all the shopping and preparation for celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, I hope we will stop and sit and think more deeply about their meaning in our over commercialized, trivialized, mass selling mania for and to children and deeply stressful time for so many. The poor baby in a manger is lost along with the poor babies crying out all over America for food, shelter, safety, and education in the jingle of cash registers, and the Christian belief that God entered history as a poor child is drowned out in the jungle of commerce and advertising.

Something is deeply awry in our nation with the world’s biggest economy that lets its children be the poorest group and the younger they are the poorer they are during their years of greatest brain development. The Prince of Peace is mocked as we let a child be injured or killed by guns every thirty minutes. The growing boy Jesus who pondered and studied His heavenly Father’s word would worry about the millions of children around America and the world growing up without an education – unable to read and compute – sentenced to social and economic death in a competitive and globalizing economy, and in America, to a mass incarceration system that will turn back the clock of racial progress unless dismantled.

Who are we and who do we want to be as Americans? What do we value? What values do we want to stand for and transmit to our children in our warring polarized world where the violence of poverty and guns snuff out the lives and dim the eyes and spirits of children and adults? I share here a few prayers for us to ponder as we enjoy our turkey and roast beef and prepare for a new year that I hope is joyful and fulfilling for all including those left behind.


God, please stop injustice,
the killing of innocent children
by violence at home and in far away lands.

God, please stop injustice,
the killing of innocent children
by poverty at home and abroad.

God, please stop injustice,
the assault on precious child dreams
by neglect and apathy near and far.

God, please stop injustice,
so our children may live
and love and laugh and play again.


O God, forgive and transform our rich nation where small babies
die of cold quite legally.

O God, forgive and transform our rich nation where small children
suffer from hunger quite legally.

O God, forgive and transform our rich nation where toddlers and
school children die from guns sold quite legally.

O God, forgive and transform our rich nation that lets children
be the poorest group of citizens quite legally.

O God, forgive and transform our rich nation that lets the rich
continue to get more at the expense of the poor quite legally.

O God, forgive and transform our rich nation which thinks
security rests in missiles and in bombs rather than in mothers and in babies.

O God, forgive and transform our rich nation for not giving You
sufficient thanks by giving to others their daily bread.

O God, help us never to confuse what is quite legal
with what is just and right in Your sight.


God, is America’s dream big enough for me?
For the little Black boy born the wrong color in the wrong place
to the wrong parents in some folks’ sight?

God, is America’s justice fair enough for me?
For the little Brown or White girl labeled from birth as second best?

God, is America’s economy open to us?
For the many children who have to stay poor on the bottom so too few can stay rich on top?

God, does America have enough for me in a land of plenty for some,
but of famine for others?

God, is America’s dream large enough for me?
I who am poor, average, disabled, girl, Black, Brown, Native American, White?

Is America for me?


Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children's Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more information go to www.childrensdefense.org.

Mrs. Edelman's Child Watch Column also appears each week on The Huffington Post.

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