Thoughts From The Vicarage
'Christmas time is here by golly, deck the halls with hunks of holly, disapproval would be folly, fill the cup and don't say when.
Kill the turkeys, ducks and chickens; mix the punch,
drag out the Dickens,
Even though the prospect sickens – brother here we go again!'
So runs the opening lines of Tom Lehrer's satirical Christmas Carol – a somewhat jaded view of the festive season! But it can feel a bit like that as we launch ourselves into the annual whirlwind of parties, concerts, events, card lists and of course the endless shopping excursions for the perfect gifts to give our nearest & dearest!
Wading my way through catalogues of ever more expensive toys for my grand- children, I remembered wistfully the times when they were tiny and were enormously entertained by a sheet of brightly coloured wrapping paper. Not so now of course – the paper is ripped away in seconds to reveal the gift so carefully concealed underneath.
We do a pretty good job of concealing the true gift at the heart of Christmas, covering it over so well with tinsel and glitter and all the other paraphernalia of the season that the gift of God's Son can become completely obscured.
Children often have a way of getting to the crux of the matter. There was a school nativity play where the youngsters didn't have a script but were encouraged to use their own words. The first two shepherds approached the manger, smiled at Mary and knelt without saying a word. The third had been looking forward to his big moment though. He beamed at Mary, looked into the manger and said, 'Wow, isn't he just like his Dad!' And that of course is the amazing gift at the heart of Christmas; that God didn't remain aloof from his creation, but sent his Son to be born amongst us, to share our joys and sorrows, to guide and teach us; forgive us when we get things wrong, and show just how much he loves us.
Don't get jaded, worn out or cynical; tear away the glitter and wrappings that can completely conceal the true gift at the heart of Christmas, and gaze into the face of Jesus – he's so like his Dad!
With every good wish for a peaceful and joyous Christmas.