My head is humming with snowmen, meadows and Parson Brown who, in my opinion, has a lot to answer for. A morning of thrift shopping with some of my teenage children revealed that I am wrong – Christmas does start the day after Thanksgiving. In previous years I have compared secular culture and church culture with all the zeal of the righteous but something else has struck me.
If Christmas is about anything, it is about a God who deeply embeds Godself in a culture and a time and a place. The challenge for Christians, especially in this world of fluctuating culture, is to seek out those things which are leading towards the light and love of Christ and to do what we can to bring this Good News of a baby born in a stable to those dark parts of our society which, often, most need to hear it.
Perhaps the message is more about discernment, about understanding glitter and sparkle which reflects life and joy and seeing that which marks deep sadness and death. Christmas, for us, is a tale of the unexpected. Of all those throngs flooding into Bethlehem for the census, who would have guessed Mary and Joseph. God’s ways are not our ways. We cannot abandon the world we are called to live in by slightly pious whining, but we can look at it through God’s eyes. We can journey towards Bethlehem as those who have said “yes”, with great joy, those who carry a great treasure, and those whose eyes are opened,daily, to the world in new and Christlike ways.