The clocks have changed, and the dark nights are with us.
I have some sympathy with CS Lewis’ picture of life living under the spell of the White Witch in Narnia, Beaver said to the children, here it is “Always winter, but never Christmas”.
However, the relief from the darkness of winter is found in the new light of Advent, then Christmas, and it will be here before you know it!
Oh yes, it’s nearly Christmas.
Cards to write and send; presents to choose and wrap; food to buy and eat; music to love and sing; and family and friends to meet and greet.
It’s easy to bemoan the commercialisation of Christmas, and we worry, don’t we, that the CHRIST of Christmas gets buried beneath a mound of wrapping paper.
I certainly feel that nagging cynicism as we all get caught in the build-up. But, there is one commercial Christmas tradition that I love, and that is, the latest Disney or Pixar film release.
Among the “must-have” toys this year, apparently, are lots of furbie, cuddly-type toys. And, surprisingly really, Buzz Light Year. He first made an appearance 25 years ago. Buzz Light year continues to attract with clever catch phrases such as “to infinity and beyond”, which raises a deeper longing! Remember what St Augustine prayed, some 1600 years ago, “Our hearts are restless, till they find their rest in you”.
And the theme tune “you’ve got a friend in me”, resonates with men, women and children, as all long for deep friendship, and an answer to aching loneliness.
Toy Story 4
So, this half term we went to see Toy Story 4, with our Granddaughter. How clever that it still enchants us!
The latest film introduces a new toy, called “Forky”. He is made by his toddler-owner, out of pipe cleaners and a plastic fork. She is distraught when she thinks he is lost, and the army of other toys launch into action seeking to find him and return Forky to his maker.
As ever, the film raises some clever and searching existential questions.
Forky thinks he is trash, with no right to exist along with all the other toys. He assumes he belongs in the bin.
Even a child watching this film is forced to ask: Are we made by someone? How do we know we are not just refashioned trash?
They, and we, can hear the challenge: Doesn’t the fact that someone loves me, give me some significance?
And so to Christmas
Isn’t the abiding attraction and annual return of this event amazing?! Yes, there is a lot of merchandise attached, and sentimentality, with a tinge of cynicism. We long for a feel-good story – is that all that Christmas is? And, once the season is over, do we return to life as normal?
Or, could Christmas, in fact, provide answers to the meaning for our existence? And, do we see in Christmas, the very definition of love from our creator, who affirms that we are not “trash”, by being fashioned in human flesh, to be with us?
Christmas is not a children’s story. Nor, as history demonstrates, is it around for a short-lived season. It is a promise to us all, that as we worship at the feet of King Jesus, we may know the answer to life’s deepest questions.
I pray that this Christmas, you may know the joy, that was first promised to those shepherds:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)
I do hope that this Christmas you may know something of the joy of Christmas, and hope amidst the gloom around us!
In (Christ) was life, and that life was the light of all people. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)
What joy there is in this story!