Less than two weeks to the most important event in the Christian calendar and already I’m sick to death of people slagging off Christmas.
How come an event my generation was brought up to revere and rejoice in and which anchors us in life, struggles to hold any joy for the current generation of 20-somethings, with even some of their parents dreading the whole period so much they prefer to skip the country to lie on a beach somewhere in countries where fanatics despise Christians?
We are a people moulded by Christian values of charity, forgiveness and love, yet why has Christmas become such a turn-off for so many?
So called smart young things take to social and other media to advise us how to avoid the ‘hoo-hah’ of Christmas. One suggested we stay in bed and get up only to make tea and toast for lunch. Have they no memory at all of a childhood Christmas?
Well, this week I began my annual ritual of climbing into the roof space to get out the Christmas decorations, something, someone of my age and dickey back should not be doing at all. But I managed it, dragged everything downstairs avoiding the dog who became terribly excited by all this unusual behaviour and attempted to trip me up. This came after the card writing, present buying, food ordering and lots of house cleaning since I felt so guilty one year putting decorations up on undusted pictures and surfaces I resolved never to do that again. Such a special celebration deserved better.
I remember all those childhood Christmases, so important to my mother who valued her Christian faith highly, passing it on to us. She taught us Christmas carols, showed us how to make Christmas cakes and decorations but never forgot to tell us why we were celebrating. She wasn’t a church goer but ventured out occasionally, children in tow, for a midnight service in church, buoyed up no doubt by a sense of renewal at such a special time.
All those memories we carried into adult life to pass on to our children and grandchildren. But somewhere along the way tradition has fallen out of fashion for many who would appear to like to destroy the occasion for everyone else. Kirstie Allsopp’s home-made-for-Christmas programme on television has been vilified by those who no doubt would prefer to be buying their decorations out of John Lewis or Harrods or even not bother at all. But where’s the harm in making stuffed rabbits out of socks or sticking dried orange slices onto apples with cocktail sticks? Personally I wouldn’t be bothered after one year trying to make home-made sweets for Christmas presents. A really bad idea.
To some Kirstie is a laughing stock but she holds dear the memory of her own family Christmases as a child. Those would have been magical days for her as they were for me. Too many people now see the Christmas story as a fable. Well, maybe it is. Yet we cannot forget that Jesus was a child born in humble circumstances who grew up to try to make life better for people. It is right we celebrate his birth. It’s part of our history. Today we need to shore up our Christian faith because too many others of varying faiths and none would like to diminish it and impose something much less palatable.
Future generations could be imperilled if we do not.