Thursday, December 15, 2005

Generation Xcel - Unconventional Christmas Appeal

Dearest Friends: In between bronchitis and deadlines I've been agonizing about crafting the perfect Christmas greeting. Then I realized the labor and hassel were another exercise in missing the point. Christmas is not about dressing up ever so neatly and presenting ourselves in a glowing light. As I wrote in a recent article:

The Christmas story we celebrate this month tells the story of the "firstborn among many brethren," (among whom are we) yet we sanitize the tale (for the sake of the kids, or us?) by focusing on the angelic visitations and cuddly sheep. At its core, however, Christ's birth was unseemly (single mothers were capital criminals); unsanitary (born in a barn, surrounded by farm animals, stench, and bugs); controversial (astrologers were the first to perceive it, by reading the stars); lowly (shepherds got it, innkeepers did not); dangerous (it provoked the ire of a villainous king); deadly (the king slaughtered innocents in response); not to mention politically radioactive (Jesus was "king" of an occupied people) and religiously scandalous ("Messiah"). The oft overlooked Christmas narrative of John 1 puts it this way: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."

So in keeping with John 1, I invite you to dwell among the teenagers Generation Xcel loves and serves for a couple of paragraphs. First, their world, in their own words:

  • "Why should I care so much for everyone else when no one gives a s!*# about me?"
  • "y do guys have to say the wrong things, @ the wrong time, @ the wrong places...just to say that they like u but make u feel like s!*#?"
  • "When you are sad, ....I will get you drunk and help you plot revenge against the sorry b@$!@&! who made you sad."
  • "Why is it that life sucks? Why couldn't I have just been happy with it when I had it?"
  • "every freaking thing is going wrong. because of my mother who doesn't freaking listen. ... i can't stand her!"
  • "Ima turn you straight......and blow your back"

These are just a few of the online comments generated by teens I know. They're good kids -- great kids, actually -- but they're finding their way and trying to make sense of emotional conflicts, relationship dramas, family strife, sexuality, purpose. All the important stuff that too many adults never figure out either. In response, Xcel chooses not to condescend to them or resent them or give up on them. Instead, we seek to understand them. Hear them. Forgive them. Restore them. Guide them. Love them. This Christmas, consider empowering us to reach them more effectively in 2006 by sending a year-end, tax-deductible donation. If ever you've considered donating, now is a critically important time. This past year saw many financial challenges, and every penny raised by this appeal will directly support our ongoing after-school programs. Contribute online here, or by mail to:

Generation Xcel 9 East 7th Street New York, NY 10003

Wishing you an unconventional Christmas, Jeremy Del Rio, Esq. Executive Director


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