Sunday, 25 December 2016

Have a Happy and Peaceful Christmas

This week in my Crawley Observer column, I have written about Christmas.
I was struck by the recent passing of Greg Lake, who sadly died on the 7th of December, just a couple of weeks before Christmas. I wasn’t familiar with his other music but I did know his famous Christmas hit of 1975, I Believe in Father Christmas.  Although this song is often categorised as a Christmas song, this was not his intention. He said that he wrote the song in protest at the commercialisation of Christmas. This was 41 years ago and nowadays I barely hear anyone mention Christmas being too commercialised because it now just seems to be accepted. If anything, the media’s measure of the success of any Christmas seems based on how busy the shops are and how much they sell.

The Christmas build-up is of course a very important time for retailers for which many jobs rely on, but it isn’t the true meaning of Christmas. I was curious to see what the internet makes of Christmas so I did a Google search of the word “Christmas”. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the first entry was Wikipedia which gives the following explanation: “ Christmas or Christmas Day (Old English: Crīstesmæsse, meaning "Christ's Mass") is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed most commonly on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration”.

That sums it up brilliantly and while recognising that cultural and secular themes and traditions have crept into how we celebrate Christmas; I believe that we should never lose sight of what Christmas is really about. Once we think about how Jesus lived his life, the Christmas themes such as giving, sharing, caring, and spreading joy become obvious.

I find myself becoming increasingly grateful each Christmas, because I’m in a warm home in a safe environment, with enough to eat and no major worries. Compared to millions across our world, most of us here are very fortunate so as well as thinking of those less fortunate, I see Christmas as a time to be grateful. I wish all readers of the Crawley Observer a very happy and peaceful Christmas.         

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