A Christmas piece from the 1996 Parish Notes in "The Pilot" today. Some who go to church, yet don't really care about their fellow human beings are killing the real spirit of Christmas, just as much as the more secular folk. Or as Charles Dickens put it in "A Christmas Carol":
"There are some upon this earth of yours,' returned the Spirit, 'who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name; who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us."
From Paul Wilkin, Curate-in-Charge, St Aubin on the Hill, 1996
"It's about giving". "It's a children's time". "It's about an old man in it long coat". These are some of the comments I can recall hearing at this time of the year from various sources and of course they are all true, but perhaps not in the way that those who originally passed those comments meant them.
Christmas is, of course, about giving. It's about the greatest gift of all. The gift of life given to all humanity in a single life, the life of the Son of God. It has to be a gift. No one could possibly earn or buy what God gives so generously and freely. All we can do is accept the gift, and care for it and nurture it.
Christmas is a children's time, but not just a children's time. It is a time for all human beings, because our God became a human being. Of course children are special at this time of year, as they are at every time of year, because it was as a child that the Son of God entered humanity. But the human face that he wore was not just a child's face. Because of his coming among us every human face has become an icon of Christ.
And it's about an old man in a long coat. His name is not Father Christmas, but Herod. He stands for the forces which oppose the life that God gives. You'll see his image around a lot at this time of year. On the first Christmas Day he sought to kill the Christ-child. Don't let him kill what Christmas is all about in you.
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