Preparations for Christmas are in full swing, writes Rev Louise Armitage.
Streets and houses are twinkling with decorations, the shops are heaving, our cupboards are bursting, (like our waistlines!) most of our cards have been written, though we keep hearing from people we’ve forgotten, and the children are just honing their Christmas lists.
So many exciting possibilities are dangled before their eyes by the advertisers that we have to wonder how we can explain that not everything will be as good as it sounds. And which will they enjoy the most - the most expensive present, or the unexpected extra that has the ‘wow’ factor?
I was taken-aback when, many years ago, a primary school teacher told me that our daughter had claimed that her favourite present was a multi-coloured eraser. And we’d spent so much money on an expensive gift.
We all know that feeling of let-down when our expectations are disappointed: “five-star” films which turn out to have all the artistic merit and none of the excitement and energy we really enjoy, or highly recommended books we can’t get into; restaurants which may have a superb range of menus, but no sense of welcome; or gifts we thought we desperately wanted, but hardly ever use.
Isn’t it amazing how the simple story of a baby born in the most humble circumstances - no room in the inn for him, laid in a manger because there wasn’t even a spare cradle - can have stimulated such a shopping bonanza all over the world. Could it all have been hijacked by materialism? Let‘s put the Christ back into Christ-mas.