I love Christmas, with the glitter, tinsel, artificial trees all lit up, santa in the mall, the smell of cinnamon candles, and the laughter of children, wide eyed at the wonder and magic of gifts received for no other reason than the love of parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and loved ones. Then there is the best part for me. The gathering around the family table to enjoy the traditional dinner of turkey and all the trimmings. That’s my Christmas, but sadly, it is not the Christmas of many. But above and before all of this festive fun, is the realisation that the reason for the season is the virgin birth of the Saviour of the World into a lowly stable manger in Bethlehem, as prophesied.
Then there is the other side of Christmas, mainly peddled by businesses who want your money, and for those 30 pieces of silver, promise a good time, in fact the best time you ever had by maxing out your credit card. Christmas has become something else. The media in the UK, and in our other ‘civilised’ western cultures, warn against hedonism. Of course they don’t call it that, so they give out other more PC warnings which are for your own benefit.
Police having to increase their patrols, on the lookout for drivers who take a chance and drink to excess before getting behind the wheel, putting their own lives at risk but also those younger innocents. The medical profession warning about the risks of spiked drinks, especially putting young party women, out for a good time ‘at risk’, and all that entails. Domestic violence hits a high, due to increased alcohol intake. Young drunken men and girls, out for a ‘good time’ at all and any cost, without a thought for the consequences to them or any others.
What have we, the civilised societies, done to the season of Christmas? It goes deeper than just being an expensive time of year. It goes to the heart of our humanity, by trading the baby in the manger for a lifestyle which is as far away from the meaning of Christmas as you can get. We have changed the definition of the word ‘party’ to a drunken orgy, instead of a celebration of goodness, based on the life and example of the Son of God. I ask again, what have we done with Christmas, and is it for our good?