So this year it’s Paddington softening the heart of a hapless villain verses something mysterious under the bed, as Marks & Spencer and John Lewis respectively compete to define Christmas 2017*.
I wonder as I watch these ads and get drawn towards beautiful Christmas images in glossy magazines, if we’ve lost confidence in our own version of Christmas and look to someone else to create it for us?
I wonder if our expectations are now so great, that we don’t trust ourselves to deliver the sort of Christmas the world tells us we should have. May be we need to be courageous and discover for ourselves what is at the heart of our Christmas?
So, what will be at the heart of your Christmas this year? It may, like this one, be a mixed list…
- The company of family and friends
- Warm hospitality
- Giving and the joy of receiving
- Family tensions
- Rituals and stories particular to you and your family
- Feeling alone
- A rare opportunity to relax, unwind and rest
- A lot of time spent driving around the country
Everyone’s list will be unique and with each ingredient expressed in a different way. If we decide to define our own Christmas, it means we and our families no longer need to try and fit neatly into the ‘perfect family’ box, we can be real about who we are … doesn’t that already sound more relaxing?!
Christmas is rooted in a story that defied convention. A king was born in a stable. His first visitors were social outcasts. Some of his earliest worshippers weren’t priests of his own religion, but foreigners who’d predicted his arrival through the stars.
The story of Jesus’ birth reminds us that we don’t need to feel under pressure to conform (at Christmas or at any other time!). We, and our families, are as we are for a reason and that’s okay.
So, if you have five minutes between tackling things on your Christmas to do list, why not use the space below to list a few ingredients to your Christmas; nobody else’s, just yours. Give thanks for the good bits and ask for God’s help with the rest.
However you spend your Christmas, may it be filled with peace and joy.
Revd Luci Morriss
*Christmas adverts for other companies are available!