One of the things Vicar’s are renowned for is trying to ‘hold back’ Christmas! I say this having heard someone comment on local radio a few days ago that they thought it was perfectly reasonable for people to put up their Christmas Trees on 1st November – “What!” I imagine it has been the significant growth of the artificial Christmas tree business (pardon the pun) which makes this even possible to contemplate.
But whether or not Christmas Trees are really meant for early November, of course the world of ‘advertising’ must be well ahead of the game, and for many of us it will be the appearance of the ‘big brand’ Christmas adverts which herald the coming of Christmas.
Most years I am oblivious as to which advert it is which first showers me with its alluring sparkle, goodies and glitz. Sadly, this year was different. The advert is set to the Meat Loaf track (“I would do anything for love… but I won’t do that”) – and I do secretly like a bit of Meat Loaf, now and again! But the advert as it unfolds, and many will have seen, rather strangely invites us to ‘do only what you (we) love’ and to abandon or destroy those things which are not to our own personal preference or advantage – hence the burning of Christmas cards and party hats, and the destruction or abandonment of certain family-oriented traditions and party antics. It was a disappointing advert to begin the festive season!
In the coming weeks (when the Vicar has stopped ‘holding back’ Christmas!) I hope we will celebrate and share a very different Christmas message to that one.
With my church hat on, Christmas truly begins at Midnight Mass as the Crib is Blessed and we ‘advertise, proclaim and celebrate’ the self-giving love of God, come close enough for us to see and hear and touch, in Jesus - the Christ-child.
But actually, Christmas truly begins in all our rich and various seasonal activities whenever we do anything and share something truly for love – not for love of ourselves, but for love of others. Let’s not ‘hold back’ on that this Christmas!
We won’t be ‘holding back’ at St Oswald’s on a whole range of traditional ‘Christmassy things’ – Christingles and Carol Singing, Nativity Scenes and Candles, Mulled Wine & Mince Pies, all alongside our Services of Worship and Joy for All-Ages. And returning to the joy of Christmas Trees (in December!) we invite you to come along to St Oswald’s, later in the month, to see our little Christmas Trees. Each will have been lovingly decorated by local groups / organisations to celebrate our shared Community Spirit as well as to help share the light and love of this season a little more generously, and selflessly, with others!
(See separate Christmas insert and publicity for events, services, timings etc)
Love and Prayers for the Season Ahead
Carolyn - The Rev’d Carolyn A James