Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas thoughts

Family all crammed around one table, lots of food, talk and fun courtesy of some very superior Christmas crackers, presents under the tree, wreath on the door- yes, it's definitely Christmas.

Although we are in danger of the beeping of cash registers drowning the original message of Christmas they aren't the important part of the day. Nor is the fact that every year someone just has to remind us that shepherds couldn't possibly have been watching their sheep in the snow because it's the wrong season, the Wise Men probably weren't kings and anyhow the date seems to have been chosen to coincide with the Roman Saturnalia. Then there are those who are convinced that children allowed to believe in Father Christmas will lose all trust in their parents. None of this is important. The choice of date was purely arbitrary since no-one actually knows when it was. The early Church did what it has done ever since and settled on a date that already had a festival associated with it, changing its nature and making it the Church's own.

From a purely religious festival driven by the desire of the faithful to celebrate the birth of Jesus the season has spread to be embraced by the secular part of the community and although some rail about this, I don't think it matters. Amid all the crassness and commercialism, Christmas still brings something special, common to everyone no matter what their belief. It is the reconnection of family and friends - that all important glue that holds society together. This year spare a thought for those who would otherwise spend Christmas alone and do what you can to help them share that connection if only for a while. In my opinion, that's the true spirit of Christmas.

With that thought, I wish you all a merry Christmas and a New Year filled with every good thing.

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