The Man With The Child In His Eyes!
Well, here we are at last: it’s Christmas. The one day in an otherwise hectic year that may be put aside to concentrate solely on home, family and friends. A day to perhaps forget the news of a troubled Europe and all the other ‘stuff’ coming out of media city, instead concentrating on those things closer to our hearts. Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, will see millions of people buying those last minute items that will ensure that this Sunday, when all the shops are finally closed, goes like a dream. Our family will be gathering at our house this year to celebrate the birth of a man whose arrival on this earth over 2000 years ago fundamentally changed the way in which we live and operate as societies all over the world. Our Prime Minister last week spoke of the values beyond politics that bind a society together that have their foundation in the a book like the Bible. Yet he could have been speaking about any of the great texts that have bound many different societies, cultures and peoples together for centuries: books that speak of love, forgiveness, tolerance and understanding. Many people don’t like to talk about religion for fear of upsetting others or even finding themselves open to ridicule, yet, like it or not, this weekend is only happening because some people in the world believe that God arrived on this earth in the body and spirit of a man called Jesus and in the most miraculous of circumstances. There is undoubtedly nothing finer in this life than watching a child open a present on Christmas morning. Indeed, I remember as a child being surrounded by adults watching and waiting for my reactions. Of course, people’s experiences of Christmas are different, and change with the circumstances of our everyday lives. Christmas can be a lonely or sad time for many. It can be a day when the financial pressures of our world are felt more than most. A few years ago I found myself at the funeral of a child. The presiding priest reminded us all on that cold and saddest of saddest days that we must cling onto the child inside us all, for it is only through the innocence and wonder of a child that we might see the world as a happier place in which to live. Here’s a thought for all adults this Christmas. Think of what it was like to be in a nativity play when you were seven. Find the nearest church to you this Christmas day and go along to re-live the child you once were. Listen to the words and sing those carols. If you want to find a church near you it’s even easier this year: just log-on to http://www.christmasnearyou.com/, (nine million hits in one day) enter your post code, and a list of churches close to you will pop up. Easy. What have you got to lose: you may even awaken the child deep inside you. Merry Christmas.