December 2017 From the Rectory
Not everybody looks forward to Christmas. Some dread the upset of remembering happier times. Some disapprove of the commercial pressures that tempt us to overindulge. A small minority try to ignore Christmas on religious grounds. The vast majority, however, look forward to the festival. They plan and hope for a most enjoyable time. Shops rely on the popularity of Christmas, and their adverts set out to entice us to show them favour.
The Christmas adverts have two goals in mind; they want to say that they know what Christmas is all about and that their product is a vital part of it. So make sure you are invited to a party where there is lots of finger food, make sure you have plenty to eat and drink - preferably in good company. Book to see the Nutcracker Suite. Buy perfume, a music CD and a new sofa. (Interestingly, I haven't seen any presents for men being advertised.)
The Church's advertising is more low-key. We simply advertise the times of our Services and hope you attend. We are the people who really know what Christmas is about, and our 'product; is seriously vital to the festival- so much so that the whole season is named after it! Of course I shouldn't be saying 'product' and 'it' but rather 'him'. Despite the church's quiet advertising, we have managed to popularise a slogan: Jesus is the reason for the
season. What do you think? Should we be shouting more loudly about him?
I love everything to do with Christmas - the emotion, the nostalgia, the magic, the sparkle, and even the busyness. Even when I have been sad, the sheer wonder of Christmas has not disappointed. But I am sure that I would feel like an intruder at somebody else's party if I didn't pay homage at Jesus' manger. Far from the spiritual side of Christmas dampening the fun, it actually makes sense of it all.
So, I hope you will be both happy and merry this Christmas. More than that, I hope you will be truly joyful. Happiness is great; joy is even better. That is why we sing 'Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King'.