Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Alternative Christmas

Sunday was our alt.worship Christmas service. Charity has some pics and one of the meditations used on her site. Here, for your delectation, is the introduction to the service:

Welcome to Christmas, the shops are full and the music plays. Do they know it’s Christmas? They might not, but for us there’s no escape. And try telling someone working in Woolworths that you wish it could be Christmas everyday.

Money just seems to disappear – presents, cards, posting, decorations, parties. And what shall we buy Aunty Gladys this year? Even Oxfam are in on it – buying a goat they tell us. Nice thought, but it just creates new problems. Would Uncle Fred rather have a donkey or a camel; a stethoscope or a fishing rod? Where ever you turn there’s adverts for this, pester power for that, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the other.

And with the money goes time, the frantic rush of getting things posted in time; the Christmas Eve shopping for the person you forgot, or realistically for most of the people whose presents didn’t need to be in the post a week ago.

There’s the enforced jollity of the Christmas party, which inevitably happens on the night before something important at work that only seems to affect you.

Of course it’s all fun, you don’t want to be a scrooge about things. But when Christmas Day comes it’s something of a relief. Just a certain amount of stuffing your face to do and then you can fall asleep in front of a film you’ve already seen.

Somewhere in all of this is a baby, but packaged in so much sentiment that you’ve sometimes wondered whether Herod didn’t have the right idea after all. Christmas is about Christ, somehow, but lost under the tinsel. And when you find him, he seems rather different to the Christ you hear about the rest of the year. Lost in the rush, or waiting under the surface? Or just absenting himself from it all?

So ask yourself two questions this Christmas as you shop and cook and wrap and eat. Where is God in all of this stuff that makes up our Christmas? And that question you’ve been hearing since September. What do you want for Christmas?

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