Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying:
'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.' Luke 2:13-14
To be honest, I find Christmas a time of greatly mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's chance to reflect again on the beginning of the central story of the Christian faith, that God sent his son to be born among us, to bring us life. And given my own thankfulness for my granddaughter's recent birth, that story this year has a special relevance. It was a delight to see it enacted once again by members of our church, including the youth group, in our third 'Walking Nativity'. You'll see we have some angels among us!
On the other hand, every year I seem to feel increasingly uncomfortable with the excesses with which we are urged to celebrate the festival. Magazines full of recipes, presents, ideas for decorations seem to make Christmas something of a competitive sport. I know there are many people who have a real gift for making Christmas special for their families and children and I'm not knocking that. Nor am I deriding the joy and meaning that comes from dusting off the family's traditions and decorations - and the memories that come with them. It just seems sad that the Christmas story (to me anyway) holds the antidote to the emptiness that it seems some people try to fill with alcohol, food or lavish spending - and yet time and again we fail to make the connection.
To use that wonderful American expression... Just sayin'...