Even if you had wanted to do a total Christmas humbug you could hardly fail to notice that the season was upon us. For one thing the supermarkets have been reminding us of it since October.
Such is their veneration and dedication to Our Lord that they have felt compelled to arouse our Christmas passions for some three months now. Yes, you’re right, I am taking the rise.
Yet supermarkets and commerce generally have a very understandable need to make money and, let’s face it, Christmas is a big money spinner.
But I’m afraid I have to come the vicar and remind everybody once again – don’t yawn! – that Christmas isn’t simply about making money and overindulgence (not that I’m above overindulgence as those who know my physical dimensions will no doubt testify).
Presents, junk telly, too much food and dyspepsia are great, I am personally a big fan of all of them at Christmas.
But for God’s sake in all of this, don’t forget the central issue: God has come as a light shining in the darkness of a difficult and dangerous world.
Not all of you will believe this of course, and that’s fair enough. But we can all identify with hope for liberation from drudgery, hardship, pain and fear.
That is what the arrival of the baby of Bethlehem meant to the people of Roman occupied Palestine, and to some of us in our times as well.