I am not the Grinch, I don't wander around muttering Christmas Bah Humbug under my breath, but neither is my house festooned with Christmas decorations, in fact to be perfectly honest I am considering not setting up the Christmas tree this year. Don't get me wrong, I am going to celebrate but the usual Christmas trappings of tinsel and trees and fuss and bother are frankly leaving me cold. I feel the pressure, but the more pressure but the more pressure I feel the more likely I am just to resist it. I want to celebrate this season as a season of highlighted Holy-days, rather than a season of parties and rushing.
I am tired of loosing the wonder of the incarnation underneath the pressure to perform, the pressure to produce something perfect and honestly unachievable for one day, or more likely now for a series of days. One Christmas advert that has been annoying me intensley declares that "this is the season of binge". I want to sceram at it, no it isn't, this is the season when we should be pausing to remember the one who came revealing the depths of the love of God, the season for peace and wonder, not for gluttony and over-spending. I want to celebrate this season as a season of highlighted Holy-days, rather than a season of stress and overindulgence.
Again, don't get me wrong, I enjoy giving gifts but the whole thing has grown out of proportion, when a DVD becomes a stocking filler, and the main present is considered mean unless it comes in at the £100+ mark we live in a world gone mad. Why are we so content to stuff ourselves with things that do not and cannot ultimately satisfy?
Am I ranting? Well yes probably, but you see I hear stories of folk who are going hungry so they can buy this seasons must have toy for their children, of children who even in this day and age in this so called civilised country who aren't eating properly because there is not enough money to go around. I know people who live in cold damp conditions for whom Christmas lights are an impossible luxury, and I want to be able to say that the Christmas story IS GOOD NEWS for them, and I wonder how I can say that if I am preoccupied with tinsel and glitter, and worried about whether or not I can afford all of the required trimmings. I want to celebrate this season as a season of highlighted Holy-days, to be prepared to share and to give.
So I am opting out of the pressure, but not the celebration, I want Christ to be the centre of Christmas, and I want to call out with the voice of the prophet for us to clear the way of the boulders and barriers that hide him from us, and through which we hide ourselves from him. I want to approach the story afresh, to capture the wonder and terror experienced by the Shepherds who saw and yet could not fathom the depth of what they were seeing. I want to be caught up in silent contemplation that takes me to a place beyond words and songs to the very heartbeat of God who came to give all to the world.
The miracle is that I can tune into that heartbeat, be connected to God anywhere and everywhere, and that, that heartbeat will if I allow it slow me and steady me to another pace of life. It will temper my shopping habits, flow into my celebrations and help me find the true meaning of the wonder and joy of the season. This is a season of highlighted Holy-days and I want to savour them to the full.
Image; Light breaks through (mine)