Sunday, 24 November 2013

Do they KNOW WHY it's Christmas?

Were you one of the people who were glued to the ‘Dr Who’ celebrations last night ? I have to confess that I’ve never been a great fan, although we did watch it in the early days when our children joined thousands of others hiding from the Daleks behind the sofa!

But that early exposure didn’t prepare me for the 50th anniversary episode that I watched because I wanted to be an intelligent grandmother – among other things! Well when I say ‘watched’, I flicked in and out, and possibly because of that, didn’t have a clue what was happening.  That was a pity because I’d like to have known, and for those ‘on the inside’ it was obviously a great experience.

Someone at church today remarked that this episode of Dr Who was reflecting the war between good and evil and the need for a saviour. That may or may not be the case – as I said I only watched bits of it - but it did strike me that Christianity and what Christmas is really all about, is probably as much of a mystery to the people who throng the streets for their Christmas shopping, as Dr who is to me. If you asked the lady queuing up in Boots for her ‘three for two’ special offer, what Christmas means to her, I would be surprised to hear her say ‘Well there is a battle between good and evil and we need a Saviour!’

Did people understand it better in earlier years? When I went to visit the CLC bookshop in the City of London’s  Ave Maria  Lane,  I was fascinated to find Christian references were everywhere . Amen Corner, Paternoster Square, the Shepherd with his sheep, the towering grandeur of St. Pauls  – over and over again there were signs to remind passers by of the way Christianity once shaped our land. 

CLC is one of the larger bookstores and sited where it is among banks and officers, it’s a destination shop, visited by people out of the centre of London who phone ahead to check that certain books are in stock. My other destination that day was the Church House bookshop, tucked away off Dean’s Yard, with the magnificence of Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament close by. That too is a place for clergy and others ‘in the know’ to find books related to their ministry.

And yet for the thousands of tourists thronging around near both sites, the fact that ‘Unto us a child is born’ and all that springs from that, is not part of their Christmas musings. What a privilege to have such news to share! The question is ‘Do they KNOW about the real Christmas’ and if not, do we care enough to find a way  to tell them? Or does Christmas become to us the sales figures at the end of  the day and little else?

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