So, despite my best efforts, Christmas has genuinely started - or at least the countdown has. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE Christmas. I'm just not that keen on it in September.
Everyone, I meet says how annoying it is that we are constantly bombarded with Christmas adverts from just after the kids go back to school. Yet still people keep glancing at the Christmas decs, just itching to get the tree out and wrestle with the lights. Advertisers know that they are pushing on an open door when it comes to an earlier and earlier Christmas, Otherwise, why would they bother? So why do we say we hate how much earlier Christmas has become and yet allow ourselves to be taken along by it?
I think it's maybe partly because people need Christmas. (I am now fighting off an image from my youth of a long haired, lady playing the acoustic guitar and crooning - not entirely successfully - "People neeeed the Lord." Funny what stays in your memory banks ) First of all, those of us that are blessed enough not to work in retail or health care need the break. It's a legitimate chance to stop, to just stop doing everything and that makes Christmas important. (And for my money, that is one reason why moves to open shops on Christmas Day should be resisted by all means possible)
There is something else there though. After a difficult and sometimes dismal year people sense something. They sense a hope. An exhortation to be good to each other, beyond our own selfish desires and ambitions. Christmas brings with it the possibility that there is a plan and a purpose, despite very inauspicious beginnings. I think that people almost don't know it, but Christmas still stirs something within them - a possibility of the impossible - Peace on earth. Goodwill to Men. As a little girl, I was taught that these things has a condition in front of them - for peace and goodwill you had to take on board the first part of this verse in Luke and put God in his right place. That way, men can get that break and that rest from the daily troubles, that we long for. It's not much point in us trying to make it happen ourselves - not really. Not with our track record.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
As this is part of a link up - as the month goes on, can I draw your attention to some blogs taking part in A Pause in Advent. Have a look.