At this time of year it’s so easy to get bogged down in the trimmings and preparations and trying to make everything special the whole time, whilst simultaneously socialising and finishing off work in the run-up to the holidays. Usually I get ill about now, and this year has been no exception! Christmas itself can be a let-down, this year I have managed a complete blinder, as I ordered some presents for family and ticked the wrong address box online, and sent them to the wrong person. This person has kindly offered to send them back to me, even though they would have quite liked to keep them, and I now feel horrendously awkward, and wish I’d never spent the money in the first place! If I was a true Christian I wouldn’t have let them know my mistake and they would have thought they’d won a competition, and I woudl have found something else to give the rest of my family. But I didn’t.
I took the kids to see Father Christmas in a local church that does a fantastic “narnia” and was chatting to a guy in the queue as his kids were helping me control my 2 as we waited for an hour! His question was, why if this is a church, is there a special fast-track lounge next door that we are not allowed in, that if we paid £2 more, we would be able to see Father Christmas quicker? Surely that’s not very Christian! I couldn’t disagree, as our kids got more and more frustrated, I wondered why I’d bothered taking them, when they already have too many presents and frankly are probably not that bothered about Santa anyway!
Christmas can feel like a “fast-track” for those with money, as most of us struggle to pay the bills any time of year the pressure to “up-scale” everything because it’s christmas is overwhelming, and lots of people will be paying for Christmas well into next year. This is not what we are supposed to be thinking about right now!!
We need to listen to the quiet in the night, and think about angels and stars and babies, not this endless to do list! I thought this poem helped me think like that again…….
When the song of the angels has faded,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and magi have returnedhome,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
Then the work of Christmas begins.
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To make music in the heart,
To be peacemakers,
to bring Christ to all
(Howard Thurman, firstname.lastname@example.org)