Light shone all around

Happy Christmas! Why do we see Christmas as a unique time of hope and celebration?  I suppose that any opportunity for a midwinter party with a focus on family getting together has its obvious attractions but, beyond that, what is really special about Christmas? We celebrate the birth of Jesus, yes – but what does that signify that it should cause us to be happy?  What difference does it really make?

Another way of putting this is to ask what all the statements we hear in Christmas services add up to.  A couple of years ago I sat in Church on Christmas Eve (not the Church I am a member of I hasten to add!) listening to a rather unimaginative and, frankly, unengaging, exposition of the connection between Christmas and the forgiveness of sins, salvation and so forth and my mind wandered to what I would say if it were me up there (something I do a lot, I’m afraid).  This is what I thought and, at the time, it seemed so vivid, I wrote it down as soon as I got home.  It’s a bit sketchy maybe, but I reproduce it now almost exactly as I wrote it then.

For me the key theme is light.  Continue reading

Reasons to be cheerful: 1, 2, 3

Five years of austerity ahead, a rolling crisis in the Eurozone which could make things a lot worse yet, rising unemployment, prospects for business poor.  We are all less well off than we were – some of us horribly so.  Riots in recent memory, public sector strikes, the media in the dock, politicians distrusted, the Church in denial.  This is the worst things have looked for a long time.  It is all bad news.  And if I look for comfort elsewhere what do I find?  Wall-to-wall celebrity culture, reality telly, karaoke freak shows masquerading as pop music and rock music practically dead.  Have I missed anything?

So, I’m looking around for some reasons to be cheerful.  Continue reading