Christmas Thoughts

With Remembrance Sunday now behind me my thoughts immediately turn to Christmas. It’s an occupational hazard associated with being a vicar, you’re always a month or two ahead of the calendar. As such I cannot help to daydream about what was, and is, for me a very special and magical time indeed. 

My parents always had a very special relationship with Father Christmas and they would always go out of their way to reveal the magic of the season. I remember once, I couldn’t have been more than five or six, all I wanted for Christmas was to be a cowboy. I remember running downstairs on Christmas day and there in front of me was a giant rocking horse, next to it a present, which I quickly unwrapped to reveal a waistcoat, a sheriff’s badge, a shiny gun and holster and a pair of leather chaps. As I rocked manically back and forth on the horse, having the time of my life, I remember distinctly looking at my parents faces. They were glowing like I’d never seen before. They were so happy, happier even than me. 

These days I don’t have the rocking horse and when I wear the chaps I get an entirely different reaction. However, it is the lingering memory of my parents faces which for me epitomises the season. It is a season for giving. As Christ gave himself for us, so we must give to each other. 

Deciding to give though is only part of the journey. To give as Christ would will us too we must do so selflessly, with love, without any hope of receiving in kind, for it is in Christ we will receive our reward. Advent helps us to prepare to do just that. 

The four Advent Sundays which precede the twelve days of Christmas help to focus our intentions. As we wait with joyful expectation of Christs coming we are invited to consider what his coming means and how our lives should change as a result. 

It is a joyful season, one which shouldn’t be rushed; a season where anticipation heightens our senses to the love in this world. It is a joyful time. 

Christmas day will come, with its joys and for some of us challenges. Let’s not race to it, but stroll and enjoy every second of this season. I’m pretty sure Father Christmas loves Advent too! 

With every Blessing, 

Fr Stephen