‘This Christmas, take time to understand what really matters’: a Christmas message from a Leamington church leader

What’s your favourite Christmas carol? What’s the song in your soul this Christmas time?
Revd Christopher Wilson.Revd Christopher Wilson.
Revd Christopher Wilson.

The other day I switched on the radio. A Christmas carol was just starting, and I began to sing along. But to my dismay, within a few bars, it was a carol no longer; it had morphed into the Classic FM theme tune. I’d been expecting good news of great joy, and felt disappointed when I heard merely a commercial jingle.

As a child, I remember Christmas was some how simpler and more authentic despite the busyness of the preparations. It left space in our souls for the songs of Christmas.

But somehow, over the years, it’s changed. Expectations are now much higher – and cost much more, financially and emotionally. Advertising is relentless and pervasive for many weeks beforehand. Fashion dictates what we must have, how the tree should be decorated, what party food to serve or avoid. We must keep up with the proverbial Joneses, or preferably outdo them. Before we know it, the Christmas carol in our soul has become a commercial jingle: mindless, meaningless, and certainly unfulfilling.

How can we safeguard the song in our soul? How can we learn to sing it again?

Firstly, by finding space for stillness and silence, wonder and reflection. It isn’t easy at a busy, noisy time, but it helps us to find perspective and to understand what really matters. God can only speak to us if we listen. ‘O hush your noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing.’

Secondly, by rediscovering what’s at the heart of Christmas, and making it real in our own lives. God doesn’t work by waving a magic wand and ordering the world in a particular direction. God works by inspiring ordinary people such as you and me to strive for ‘peace on earth and goodwill to all people.’ Christmas is to draw out from us generosity and love towards our neighbours – whether they be local homeless people, Syrian refugees in crisis, or anyone else. ‘Ye who now will bless the poor shall yourselves find blessing.’

And thirdly, by seeking the Christ Child, just as the shepherds did two thousand years ago. Jesus came to show us what God is like, to share and redeem our joys and struggles, to love us without limit. At Christmas, we wonder at his birth and its meaning. ‘God with man is now residing; Yonder shines the infant light.’

My colleagues and I wish you peace and blessing this Christmas time, and invite you warmly to join us in worship in one of the churches of our town. ‘O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.’

Fr Christopher Wilson, All Saints’ and Holy Trinity churches, Leamington.

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