For it is Christmas – the magical and holy season of giving,
When the world looks bright and burnished and we are happy.
Loving and giving, sharing and helping, laughing and joyous.
Ah! Would it were so for every child the wide world o’er.

We give our children the topmost brick from the chimney,
Apples, oranges, dates, chocolates, toys, trains and dolls.
We would wish for them love, happiness and above all, peace.
Ah! Would it were so for every child the wide world o’er.

Our children will open stockings and sacks and parcels galore,
From Santa, from Mother, Father, Aunt, Uncle, Brother and Sister.
The gifts will be expensive, or lovingly made by hand at home.
Ah! Would it were so for every child the wide world o’er.

We will sit down to groaning boards, laden with festive fare,
With turkeys, geese, chicken, ham, bacon, carp, and puddings.
And if not these fine foods, then reasonable facsimiles thereof.
Ah! Would it were so for every child the wide world o’er.

And afterwards, a rest in a comfortable bedroom with a bed,
Or playing with games, toys and puzzles, waiting for elders to waken.
Then the beach, the sea, sand, surf, beach footie and cricket.
Ah! Would it were so for every child the wide world o’er.

That holds true for about one quarter of that lovely little world
That men have seen from space and loved so much. Even if in our land
There is sorrow and misery, there is not death and starvation for any.
Ah! Would it were so for every child the wide world o’er.

For the three quarters of the world that is the South and rural poor,
There is nothing at all. Christmas Day is just another day to live.
A day when nothing will happen that did not happen yesterday or before.
Thank God it is not so for our well beloved and most lucky children.

Parents have nothing to give their children but life’s precious gift,
And love, care and concern. Wrenching pity and heart-torn sobs
For who needs a child with swollen belly and matchstick limbs.
Thank God it is not so for our well beloved and most lucky children.

Once Eglantyne Jebb had started the work of Save the Children
She turned her attention to a Charter for Children’s Rights
So that those who were hungry, sick and helpless were ever with us
As we so often read those all encompassing compassionate words.

Leagues of Nations and United Nations,after crippling wars,
Adopted her Declaration as one by which all nations would live
Protecting, caring, feeding, nursing, helping, re-educating,
Sheltering, succouring, and above all coming first in hearts, minds and care.

So simple, so self evident – we could almost wonder why she wrote –
Why was it necessary and why is it still necessary to know this?
We call ourselves civilised – yet we treat children as less than human
So often, and so often – the abused, the hurt, the victimised.

Will you at this precious season of joy, happiness and holy love,
And despite the fact that always this loaf is MY CHILD’S BREAD,
Read again the great declaration written by a gallant lady
And promise that you will really do something positive to help children.

  1. THE CHILD must be protected beyond and above all considerations of race, nationality or creed.
  2. THE CHILD must be cared for with due respect for the family as an entity.

  3. THE CHILD must be given the means requisite for its normal development, materially, morally and spiritually.

  4. THE CHILD that is hungry must be fed, the child that is sick must be nursed, the child that is physically or mentally handicapped must be helped, the maladjusted child must be re-educated, the orphan and the waif must be sheltered and succoured.

  5. THE CHILD must be the first to receive relief in times of distress.

  6. THE CHILD must enjoy the full benefits provided by social welfare and social security schemes,must receive a training which will enable it, at the right time, to earn a livelihood, and must be protected against every form of exploitation.
  7. THE CHILD must be brought up in the consciousness that its talents must be devoted to the service of its fellow-men.

Pam Barrington MBE

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