The Perfect Christmas?
Saturday 24th December 2011Writing in today's York Press, the Archbishop focuses on the things that bring real happiness - friends, family and God - at Christmas
What comes to mind when you think about Christmas?
It will not surprise you to learn that for me the most important thing about Christmas is remembering that God in his coming to us in Jesus Christ, is the whole reason for our celebrations. What a wonderful happening, and what fantastic good news!
I always hope that Christmas will be a time of peacefulness and joy. A time to say thank you and a time to celebrate.
However, I know there will be some people for whom the thought of Christmas causes fear and dread. Not because of the celebration itself, but because of the unrealised expectations.
Children will want the latest toys and gadgets. Partners will hope for a special present. And almost everyone in the family will expect a massive turkey with all the trimmings. It can be a very costly occasion.
It is easy to be worn down with the enormity of the expense, but this year, instead of trying to buy yourself the perfect Christmas, why not focus on the things that bring real happiness – friends, family and God.
When I was growing up in Uganda, we had a big family; what a wonderful blessing. Our parents always gave us love and attention.
I was one of thirteen children, and my parents used read to us and tell us stories. We all felt incredibly valued and loved. In fact, looking back, it was utter happiness.
If only we could have the same attitude towards the children of this nation. To say our time and our relationships have much greater value than anything that can be bought on the high street.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could keep Christmas simple? Remember how simple the birth of Jesus was: No fancy clothes, no excess food and drink, just people together for a purpose.
When we see suffering in our community, we should unite to make things better. Together we can be stronger, together we can face the difficult times and together we can overcome them. I pray for all families facing a sad, lonely Christmas this year, that God will give them the strength to face the difficult days and offer them hope to rebuild for the future.
My message to you this Christmas is straightforward:
Remember those who have very little and bless them with whatever you can give – time and tenderness can be as important as presents.
Where there is vulnerability, offer support and encouragement.
Where there is unfairness, strive for justice.
Let’s keep Christmas simple this year and look for inspiration from the example set by God’s beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
May I wish you all a very blessed and peaceful Christmas.