Dear Friends,
A few years ago, one of the things many of us looked forward to was the Christmas Day edition of the Morecambe and Wise Show on the television. Although other channels tried to compete, none quite matched up to what Eric and Ernie offered us. Now the competition in terms of television highlights is to do with which super store and produce the best advertisements. I guess it began with John Lewis producing a slick advertisement, Aldi then parodied it and before we know what was happening every store was trying to outdo one another.
I have to say some are quite clever and well put together but others are a big disappointment.
One that is really irritating me (and I can't remember which shop it's from) features some parents telling their children that they are having a different sort of Christmas this year. This time, they tell their children, they are going to spend time together, sing carols and enjoy each other's company. The children look disappointed until the parents burst out in laughter and tell the kids it a joke and of course they are going to have a proper Christmas with a brand new big TV set.
In another advert, a person bemoans the fact that his in-laws are coming to stay until he is told that his wife has invested is a TV system so each person can watch whatever channel they like - each in their own room.
So what is a proper Christmas? Is it one in which people spend time watching television and doing their best to avoid other members of the family? Or is Christmas about something much more profound?
Of course sum of us will be spending time in church over the Christmas period as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Messiah.
Others might not get to church but they still might take time to reflect on the meaning of this special festival, that God so loved humanity that he was willing to come to earth to be part of us.
If God values us that much, surely we should value each other - such that our Christmas festival period is one in which we celebrate being part of the family of God with all the good things that entails.
May I take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very happy Christmas and every blessing in the new year.
Ian R