Eggardon & Colmers View

December 2021

Rambling Rector

Christmas

 

We have got to save Christmas says our government. They said the same last year as well. But what does saving Christmas mean?

 

I suppose the first thing to do is to think about what Christmas is, and then what it is you want to be saved. I would, obviously, say that Christmas is all about the birth of the baby Jesus, the son of God. I regard the clue being in the name. Mass is another name for the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. So, to me, the true definition of Christmas is celebrating Holy Communion to celebrate the birth of Christ. Maybe I should rename ‘Midnight Mass’ and Christmas Day services ‘Christ Mass’ as the truest way of celebrating Christmas. Midnight Mass is designed so that the distribution of the bread and wine (something central to Christianity) takes place just after midnight so that it is celebrated as soon as possible. The rest of the Christmas celebrations, the turkey, goose, huge feast, pudding, mince pies, decorations, tree, presents, singing are then all additions to the central theme of celebrating the birth of Christ. Yes, I know that 25th December used to be the pagan winter solstice and was celebrated as such before Christmas was celebrated on that day. Maybe we ought to revert to calling it ‘the winter solstice celebrations’, or something similar, for those not wanting to celebrate the birth of Christ, but wanting to celebrate the middle of winter.

 

For Christians, and those still reading, what is it that is so special about the birth of Jesus, some 2000 years ago, that gets an annual festival named after him? Christmas is celebrated around the globe in many different ways by so many people, there must be a reason why. If we think Jesus was just another baby born out of wedlock, as so many have been for millennia and then executed 33 years later as a criminal, why is he still remembered? This one baby, named Jesus, really did change the world, of that there can be no doubt. He has had an influence on many of the world’s major religions, far beyond Christianity; Islam believes he was a great prophet and miracle worker, a prophet being somebody who could tell human beings God’s thoughts and plans; Hindus believe that Jesus was a manifestation of God on Earth; Sikhism views Jesus as a high-ranked Holy man or saint. Summing up a religious belief in Jesus in just a few words is not really adequate, and is only done here to make the point that Jesus is a truly global character and that should not be ignored. Christians believe that somehow Jesus was both God and human, central to a human being’s path to the afterlife. More about that at Easter time.

 

Whatever it is that you believe, I hope that you do have a good Christmas in whatever way you wish to celebrate, or however you wish to celebrate it. I always remember being told that the best presents are not necessarily the ones that are the most expensive, but the ones made with the most love. And if you want to join us for our Christmas worship, I look forward to meeting you.

 

Happy Christmas. Rev Chris