We are now at a post-Christian understanding of Christmas as the church and, more importantly, faith plays even less of a part in the lives of so many. Christmas is not about parties, tinsel, presents and indulgence but rather about the world in which we live re-discovering the wonder of God’s love for us in the birth of a child in Bethlehem - and that for many is incomprehensible. In that love God gave us the One who would show us that life can be lived with love and hope rather than fear and hatred.
In celebrating Christmas I utterly reject the Puritan understanding which lacked joy and wonder; I refuse to subscribe to the doctrine of, “I must have”; and I thank Prince Albert, but cannot whole-heartedly accept his romanticised picture with snow, pretty churches and ice-skaters laughing heartily. No, Christmas is about God expressing His hope for all humanity that in the life of that child born in Bethlehem we can see a better world, a better way. If we fail to remember that the child born became for us the Christ of faith then we have failed to understand the mystery of what is called, in theological terms, the Incarnation. God is with us in our humanity. Jesus experienced what we experience with all the limitations of that humanity yet remained faithful to his call to follow the will of the Father. That will is that all creation will live in unity and in harmony with each other as was intended at the very beginning of time. Now wouldn’t that be the most remarkable gift this Christmas if we in the Church worldwide could help others understand this.
Enjoy a happy and holy Christmas.