As I write, it’s just 47 days to Christmas. By the time you read this, it will be even closer to Christmas. Although we have not yet passed Remembrance Sunday (at time of writing) the weather has taken a turn for the colder, and we’ve already had 2 or 3 frosts - much earlier than last year.
So my mind turns to Christmas, with great expectations of Christmas carols, mince pies, Christmas cake, presents, and, yes, someone probably saying “Bah, Humbug”. But I love Christmas. In some ways it contains every human emotion we can feel: The joy of new birth; the anxiety that brings forth words like “Is it really only 2 days left? “So much to do, so little time”; “Why do we do it?”; little faces in the half- light of a just-too-early morning in joyous expectation of presents to unwrap; the empty places that speak the bitter-sweet memory of Christmases past and those people who no longer populate our Christmas present.
So in all of that light and dark, bitter and sweet, can we find a true meaning of Christmas? Well, yes. It’s not to be found in excess, but in the tasty morsels shared at tables with friends, neighbours and family. Nor is it to be found in the over-spend, but in the un-expected, thoughtful present, perhaps costing little, but now enjoyed. It’s Christmas lights and fires in the darkness, and the bright warmth that shuts out the cold. And in all these things, I see perhaps something of our pre-Christian past, and the gift, the Christ-child, offering bright blessings as He sleeps in the manger.
In this Light of the World, we may, perhaps, see good times past, happy memories, the anticipation of presents to open and the joy of this present moment.
When it comes, have a Happy Christmas; enjoy and be a bringer of it.
Vicar’s thoughts for December 2016