Dear Friends, We are about to enter the Christmas Season once again and the seemingly normal world turns into a frenzy of activity, not normally seen at other points in the year. There will, no doubt be a blaze of light as we drive along suburban roads as people appear to compete with each other to illuminate their home and put on the most impressive display on the street. Plastic tubs of chocolates despite appearing to get smaller each year, will suddenly rocket in price and entice shoppers as they are stacked in the entrances to supermarkets and the queues at tills will get longer.
Listen to people and most folk appear to complain about Christmas, there is a general recognition that it is a season when we spend too much, eat too much and act in ways that are somehow outside our normal frame of behaviour and despite people complaining, there will always be something magical about the season of Christmas and no matter how grumpy we might get, echoing the words of Ebenezer Scrooge “Bah Humbug!” we struggle to avoid getting caught up in the festivities. People complain “Christmas has become too commercialised” yet we still get caught up in the festivities. Why do we do it?
“Christmas is for the children” people say and maybe the season takes us back to childhood memories, but it is also a very grown up season and alongside our spend, spend, spend culture, the true message shines through as people give generously to those less fortunate than we are, as mass Christmas Dinners are planned, to ensure that people are not alone on the big day. Millions of shoeboxes travel to parts of the world to bring joy and a message of love, tins and buckets are shaken, choir sing and if we have the eyes to see, the message is not all about greed, there is a clear agenda of generosity and love.
“Where does Christ fit in?” the good Church people ask as our buildings, once crammed full for Carol Services and the like, feel slightly disappointing and we long for the good old days. The people of old looked out for their messiah and completely missed the fact that he was right there under their noses. I believe that God is at work today in the many, many acts of kindness and self giving that happen and if we are not careful, we miss, so I say, enjoy the commercial Christmas by all means and don’t feel guilty doing so, but as Christians, let us help those who are being generous, kind and loving, to see that they are living the Gospel message today. Happy Christmas!