December 2017

Dear Friends,

It interests me how people “market” Christmas. What do shops and businesses say, to pull in customers? I find the extent of secularisation shocking, but it seems unfair to judge those who earn their living by the business they have in this season. And it is unreasonable to expect everyone in our society to understand that Jesus is the reason for the season. There is widespread ignorance, and some downright misinformation, about what Christians believe. We are better to see this as an opportunity, than to point a finger of blame.

A major high street chain selling cosmetic products has the slogan across its windows, “Spread good vibes this Christmas”. And down in a far corner the word “Peace” and a CND symbol. They are to be commended for trying to be ethical (as with their products), but where do “good vibes” come from? How do we generate them, let alone spread them? Christians can spread “good news” of Jesus, God born among us. Of course the angels take a lot of explaining. Shepherds and wise men are often not part of our everyday experience. We can all be humbled, though, by God’s generous love, and we need never lose our sense of wonder at God’s concern for us.

At the centre of the first Christmas story are ordinary human beings, whose lives are never going to be the same again, once they have met with the living God. That can be as true for us, as it was for Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zachariah, Simeon, Anna and a host of unnamed visitors to the manger and the cradle. Surely that produces a good vibe? And it should herald a message of Peace in our hearts, our homes and in the world.

Happy Christmas,

Helen Caine