December 16th – Our Disney-Land Christmas



What have we done with Christmas? No, I’m not a killjoy nattering on about commercialism, and what folk call “the real meaning of Christmas”, but never saying what that real meaning is I’m just a bit sick of what we’ve done to it.
I read somewhere that a Mori Poll predicts that over Christmas there will be 3 million family rows.Over Christmas the suicide rate accelerates, deaths through stress increase, marriages fall apart, and family feuds are fuelled. What have we done to Christmas? There is a passion to spend money we haven’t got for things folks don’t need. One psychologist, helping patients to survive Christmas, advises “Cheer up, it’ll soon be over”. No wonder I feel, along with you, that we are missing the point of it all. Many children ask for outlandish presents, and parents feel obliged to try and get them. “After all, it’s Christmas”.
I am also fed up with well-meaning folk speaking of “the real meaning of Christmas” who, when pressed, say “Well, it’s all about the baby Jesus, isn’t it?”, and in the minds eye there is a picture of Christianity being all about plastic dolls in toy mangers inside star spangled stables on sterile straw. Disney doe-eyed donkeys, and cartoon cows, star-struck magicians from afar, “walk-on” shepherds, and tragically, there, the story ends, for millions. They never got past that stage in the primary department of the school or Sunday school. There’s no incarnation, no grown up grasp of a being coming to confront the cosmic powers of darkness – no life – no cross – no resurrection – no glorious ascension. Just a doll in a toy stable surrounded by the festivities of food, booze and carols and endless T.V. talk about a celebration party without the guest of honour being there – or keeping the wrapping and throwing the gift in the bin! No wonder we have to get over it! It’s a hangover, a sore head: some season of goodwill! What was really going on at Bethlehem was not a nativity play It was, in Paul’s words, “Jesus who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Philippians Chapter 2 v.6-7
A Prayer: Lord forgive us for what we have done to Christmas! Enable us not only to bow down in wonder before the manger, but to kneel in penitence before the cross and invite him to be born again into our selfish little lives for his sake – and ours.

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Thought 4 The Day

Our lord’s first obedience was to the will of his Father, not to the needs of men; the saving of men was the natural outcome of his obedience to the father. (Oswald Chambers)

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