This post will also appear on the family blog here.
This has been a post in formation for weeks and I was never sure I felt brave enough to write it in a real way for people to see...but Bishop Nick Baines has got in before and dealt with the stick over the weekend...so I feel a bit like I'm jumping on the bandwagon - but hey, we all do that in the world of blogging!
So, check out Nick's post here Grumpy Bishop. He's recently published a book which I'll say now, just like all the media who have entered the scrum of interviewing him, I haven't read yet. But based on this post, he is from the same stable as me - if you'll excuse the pun! (Cos it was probably a cave!!)
My problem with Christmas (I love it really, don't get too worried!!) came with the arrival of M 3 years ago - her first Christmas didn't really matter as she was only 10 days old. But come her first birthday, followed rapidly by Christmas Day, it was very difficult not to get caught up in the assumption that Father Christmas would be visiting our house in the dead of night and delivering presents.
+Nick continues: The ‘magic’ of Christmas is fine – up to a point. But ask any clergy and they will tell you about the ways in which Christmas is hard for many people and how the ‘magic’ makes it harder. It is for them that the reality of Christmas hits home: that God has not remained a million miles above contradiction, but opted in to the muck and messiness of the world and meets us where we are – in the vulnerability of the baby in Bethlehem. To tell that story is not to be miserable – but the opposite.
I am just not prepared to encourage people to live in a fantasy world, but doing my job as a Christian bishop in calling people back to the original story. Grasp it – and then celebrate hard and fully. I’ll be belting out the carols and watching the nativity plays along with the rest of them. But I will also be living in the real world and engaging my brain.
+Nick - I'm with you. I'll be doing mobile carolling on 20th December, going into London and experiencing the Christmas lights and soaking up the excitement. I'll be making mince pies and sausage rolls and wrapping presents and sneaking about on Christmas Eve, stopping Andy from squeezing presents and we'll probably be eating and drinking too much. But I hope in the midst of all that, I'll be reminded of why we get to celebrate this amazing event - because it changed the world, it changed my world and I want it to change the world of my daughter and her friends and our families and our community because we tell it how it really is...if you take the 'text' out of 'context' - what are you left with??