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Christmas Comes But Once a Year..

Christmas, again.


"Christmas comes but once a year" so the old saying goes and many

people, perhaps a little cynically will say, "Thank goodness"!

We live in a society that tells us what to do, what to buy and announces

the latest thing in the shops for our "must have" pleasure. We begin to see Christmas celebration at the end of September so that shops can fill themselves with products that can be sold to us, at, often, inflated prices to buy things for our loved ones that they neither need nor we can afford.


The amount of personal debt at Christmas time through loans and credit

card purchases almost doubles every year. Shops are sold out of

Christmas trees by the early December and food shops are constantly

under pressure from customers for more and more exotic food only for

much to be discarded after the event when the festivities are concluded.

Christmas is a term derived from the Mass of Christ a feast celebrating

the birth of our Saviour, Jesus, who came as a baby, the most

vulnerable form of human life. He was born in a tent or cave or stable

depending on which story your believe but was definitely laid in an

animal feeding trough called a manger.


His parents were traditional Jewish folk with Mary, His mother being

probably only 14 or 15 years of age and, tradition has it that His father,

Joseph, a carpenter from the town of Nazareth, was an older man. Other

than those basic facts drawn from the Gospels all the rest is made up of

Hollywood, popular carols and creations of overheated minds.

Christmas is the festival that is shared and celebrated throughout the

whole world not just by Christians. The commercialism or perhaps

commercialisation of Christmas which is massive, has actually helped to

spread the story of God's plan for the redemption of mankind.

This is a strange set of circumstances but allows people of all faiths to

hear and maybe understand the central message of Christianity that

God so loves the world that He sent His only Son into the world as a

baby whose destiny was to die, 33 years later, a terrible death upon the

cross accused of things of which He was not guilty, condemned and

killed because;


a) the people were jealous of His popularity or

b) the church was afraid His teachings were undermining their authority

or

c) Church leaders considered Him a heretic because He assumed a

relationship with God as His father or

d) The church authorities were afraid of a backlash from the Roman

authorities because this could be seen as a local terrorist uprising

in opposition to Roman authority or

e) None of the above!


By the time that Christmas day comes around, the great feast of our

faith, the secular world is sick of the season and is ready to prepare for

New Years Eve or Summer Holidays or the next BIG thing.

The world has a short attention span!


So, Christmas, the Christmas season, sometimes called Yule, begins on

Christmas Eve or, more properly from my point of view, at midnight at

Midnight Mass.

At the stroke of Midnight our annual wait for the Lord's return, Advent

ceases and we place the Baby Jesus in the crib and we celebrate"Hark

the Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the New Born King."


We celebrate the beginning of the Christmas Season where for the next

12 days and nights we should be extra vigilant in spreading peace and

goodwill to all men irrespective of colour, creed, religion of sexual

orientation. Judgementalism is set aside. Personal opinions should be

discarded and the Love of God expressed through the gift of His Son

should be our watchword, our aim our passion.


My message to you all as this Christmas time approaches is simply what

your Granddad or Grandma would have told you back in the day;

Make the most of every moment. Time is a gift of God! Don't waste it.

Show love and genuine concern to other people not just the ones you

like.


Watch out for those on the margins of our collective groups at

Christmas. It can be a lonely time.


Take time to listen to others, especially the elderly and the young.

No one should be your enemy. Even people you d't like can be won

over with a smile.


Remember the wisdom if the Bible quote: A soft answer turneth away wrath"

Give, give and give, love and understanding.


I pray that this Christmas season will be a blessing to you all and that

you will experience the love of Christ through others.

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