Sunday, 11 December 2011
DO YOU THINK CHRISTMAS IS TOO COMMERCIAL??
The Royal mail, and courier services are especially busy at this time of the year of course, and perhaps more than some communities we rely on them to both take away things for Christmas and equally deliver them. The last posting day gets ever closer and some watch this marker carefully.
Christmas trees and lights now seem to have December 1st as the up day, just to help us feel that Christmas is even closer than it really is, and for some elderly people in care homes this can cause even bigger problems and anxiety.
I have just about got my cards ready to post, I have not thought of a tree to be honest, I know where my lights are because I bought them last year.
I know who I am getting presents for and most of these are ordered and some are even wrapped, and some are waiting until the end of January this time! (Newr year sales could help me here!).
I have mincemeat ready for the pies, and drink for the guests.
There are probably other things too which you have on your lists of to do things, and some of you may feel the pressure of these things pressing in on you.
Then on top of all that we have to contend with some fairly rough weather, how the council is going to save millions, where the new Anderson is going and if it is going, The problems in Syria and Egypt, and not to mention the increased concern about financial markets, the value of our savings and if they will remain safe and the security of our pensions.
Phew! You might think… yes and on top of all that the church is trying to get a word in edgeways and say that in amongst all this God is somehow wanting to show that he is involved in the world, not just today but always has been.
The Nine lessons and carols we shall experience again soon deliberately try to tell this story of God in the world. Christmas itself is about the same story of God breaking into our world.
Furthermore the world we see God breaking into and making an impact was a world of political and military tension, and a world of international intrigue.
Tradition has it that Jesus was born in an overcrowded and occupied town. A place of chaos and tax. ( the census was all about taxation)
Tradition also has it that God breaks into such a world in an unexpected way and as if a huge surprise. Almost silently in the night.
Tradition also has some surprising people recognising this God presence, shepherds and foreigners, and not the religious folk of the day.
Our Christmas would not be the same today however without the Shepherds Wise Men, stable and manger the crib. Our Christmas today would not be the same without Holly wreaths, mistletoe, Christmas Trees and stockings.
Our Christmas today would also not be the same without Santa Claus the man who brings delight and magic to the homes and faces of our loved ones.
I do not think we need to be over concerned about the trappings of Christmas….. no matter what world we find ourselves in God has a way of making his real presence felt, and for you and I who call ourselves Christian we have a particular role to play in helping the World recognise the coming of God to a needy world and a needy people.
Our own response at Christmas has to be like that of the Shepherds and wise man, of coming and worshipping the presence of God in the world. The part we play is ultimately simple really. God somehow completes the picture, it does not rely on us to do that.
When we are tempted to say that it has all become a little too commercialized and the real meaning of Christmas has been lost, is it sometimes because we recognise within ourselves the little room we give to Jesus or to God.
The Shepherds are you and I. People going about their normal working lives and being surprised by God. And following the surprise being able to respond to that all important news and not let it just slip away after Boxing Day.
Traditionally the Shepherd brought a lamb. A symbol of their work their normal day to day life, nothing special, and we sing about if I were a shepherd what would I bring…. And the conclusion we come to is that we would bring our heart.
There is nothing smaller or even greater about our offering to God this Christmas, it is almost nothing that is expected and yet it is at the same time everything. It does not matter if it happens within a commercial world or a world of political unrest and intrigue, just that it happens…. And I believe it always will.