Anyone who knows me will know that I’m not a Christmas enthusiast. I used to love it as a child, because it was a couple of days when we spent time together as a family, playing board games and enjoying the treat of special food that we didn’t have the rest of the year: turkey, Christmas pudding, oranges, chocolate. My parents weren’t rich, so we had just one main present, and a stocking with fruit and sweets and a few bits and bobs from them, plus a few presents from relatives. But it wasn’t about the presents – it is the family fun that I remember.
We went to the local church for the carol service, although we weren’t a religious family – after all, it was Christmas. So as a child, I was aware of the link between a child being born who represented love and light and joy being brought into the world, and the love and fun we had as a family at that time of year.
What happened? Over the years, Christmas seems to have turned into a consumer event: too many presents to be bought, too much food being eaten or wasted, too much drink, and Christmas songs that don’t even mention Christ being born.
The message of Christmas, I believe, is love. It is a reminder that the greatest gift we ever give to another is our heartfelt love and attention.
So this Christmas, let’s concentrate on showing love to the world.
Show your love to your family and friends. Call them and wish them peace and joy if they are not at home with you. Hug them and laugh with them if they are: it will mean more than any of the other gifts you give.
Remember those who do not have the good fortune to be surrounded by love. How can we walk past a homeless person with bags full of presents and food? They may not even have a bed for the night. Give them something instead of buying that extra thing to put under the tree. Show a stranger that love and care still exist in our world. Go and wish that neighbour who is on their own a happy Christmas and have a cuppa with them before you cook the Christmas dinner.
And don’t forget to show yourself some love too. Make sure that you have a little time where you do exactly what you feel like doing during the festive period. Relax, enjoy yourself, give yourself permission to be selfish for an hour or two, because then your love for others can shine through clearly.
We may no longer be a religious culture, but that doesn’t mean that we no longer believe in love. If we are going to celebrate Christmas, let us do it by showing that we love and care about other human beings. Christ came into the world to remind us about love – let’s continue the tradition and celebrate love this Christmas.
And thank you for reading these blogs – it means a lot to me to know that you are there. Have a great Christmas break and may 2015 be a year of joy and peace for you.