Updated: Aug 2, 2019
By Josie Child, PAX Media Producer
Every year, the UK comes down with Christmas fever on a mass scale. Nobody is safe from this sugar-coated, glittery pandemic. Did you know that, every year in the UK, we put up 8 million Christmas trees, buy 6 million rolls of Sellotape, and drink 57 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of beer?!*
We simply cannot get enough!
What is it about this holly jolly season that recaptures our imagination year on year? We might suggest that it’s due to the season being ‘sold’ to us in such a systematic way. The Christmas season generates an astonishing amount of spending, indulgence, and wastefulness every year. Christians and non-Christians alike have come to be wary of the commercialisation of Christmas, for good reason.
However, when we strip away the turkey and the tinsel, I think that the reason that we all love Christmas so much is that it represents simple ideals about a better way to live.
It’s just a glimpse, but we are captivated.
Christmas holidays: allowing ourselves to rest
Being engaged in honest, hard work is good. Right at the beginning of the creation of the world, we learn that ‘the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it’ (Genesis 2:15). Work is established as a good and Godly thing – we might even say that it is a gift.
However, for many of us living in the busyness of a crowded, connected, and frankly, often frantic 21st century schedule, the responsibilities of our work and commitments of our social life can weigh heavy on us. We feel that we must be busy and useful all the time, to the point of exhaustion, driven by the expectations of society to achieve, increase, and control.
I am guilty of this and feel challenged this Christmas to stop and remember: when God appeared to Elijah, he was not in the wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire, but in a gentle whisper, a small, still voice. Over Christmas, the impatient demands of normal life fade away, and we experience the glorious freedom of having little to do. I’m so thankful for this chance to live in the present, and just be.
Christmas dinner: re-establishing the value of a shared meal
There are many reasons why we might not be able to prioritise eating together as family or friends regularly. However, Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to live differently, even just for a moment.
Christmas carols: extending peace to all mankind
“Hark!” The herald angels sing “Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth and mercy mild God and sinners reconciled!”
I absolutely love this carol. You can’t help but feel joyful when you sing it! Like many other carols as well as modern Christmas songs, the word ‘peace’ pops up very frequently. When we look at all the injustices and challenges facing the world today, I find it amazingly comforting that we still want to sing about the promise of ‘peace on earth’. It helps me to remember the small acts of reconciliation, forgiveness and generosity that take place every day across the world.
Inspired by these wonderful carols and by the amazing way that God made peace with humanity through Jesus, I’m going to take time to consider who I can extend the hand of peace to this Christmas – will you join me?
If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, why not take two minutes to watch Nadim’s Christmas message below?