is that a christmas carol i hear playing in myers?

this is another of those posts i will regret writing, where people will start worrying and offering pastoral care… nonetheless, i will take a deep breath and hit ‘publish’ anyway…

I quite like christmas, but for all the wrong reasons. i like presents. i like shopping. i like my friends, and that we find lots of reasons in december to spend time together. i like that christmas is a good reason to buy champagne from one of the ‘up high’ shelves at Dan’s. i like tinsel, sparkles and fairylights. i like practising Christmas recipes, and going to the market with Clare on christmas eve to buy lobster and raspberries. I like that there are reasons to buy new outfits with frippery shoes [summer’s coming!].

Yes, i really am that shallow.

In fact, if it weren’t for the traffic on the roads and the Christian bits, Christmas would be my absolute favourite time of year.

Christmas is the part of the Christian story i find most difficult – not for the details of the story, they don’t bother me at all, but because i find it really hard to make sense of the difference that it makes. It seems i get pissed off about this time each year that the world isn’t magically better as a result of the incarnation [if he’s the prince of peace, why isn’t there peace?]… And the alternative, all too often, is to dilute the story down to the palatable bits [this is what God is like when God is in human flesh], and not demand something more of it [where is that world peace, dammit?]. This year the ‘what difference did it make’ question is biting harder – not in a bad way at all [please don’t offer pastoral care!], just in an ‘i can’t bear to talk about a promise i don’t believe… so i’d better go in search of some promise i can talk about’ kind of way.

I’m working on a deadline for an advent piece at the moment, and i’ve just realised that it’s the connection between advent and Christmas that makes me tongue-tied. i get the waiting in advent [in fact i love it], i just hate that Christmas is so often offered as the end of the waiting – the moment the world was holding it’s breath for… and yet actually, we’re still breathless. We’re still dreaming the same dreams as Isaiah, i’m just less confident than him that this kingdom might actually happen. i can theologise that tension away with the best of them, but i’m still pissed about it.

Luckily there’s nothing like the process of writing for a deadline to sift through the crap and to let there be a moment where some clarity falls into the light. i just need to trust the process to work -after all, i do still have 65 minutes before the deadline… and perhaps once the piece is done i can go across the road and try on that frock i saw earlier…

there’s no happy ending to this blog post, no nice little twist that will make anyone glad they read through to the end. but sometimes, in the absence of clarity, it’s good to at least call out loud from in middle of the fog…

5 Comments

  1. georgina

    good one!
    isn’t there something about the reality of the world we live in, holding on by the finger tips, and looking for the burning bush in the most unlikely places.

  2. ben

    he he… i am glad i read to the end…

    and my absolute fave time of year at work (in a department store) is these moths when we put up all the tacky, shiny decorations and everyone comes in. EVERYONE. Especially the people who dont come in at any other time of year, who HATE shopping, and suffer it with gazed over eyes…

    i like the tackyness too… makes me feel connected to humanity. I think tackiness is as much in the eye of the beholder as beauty. and they are both good in their own way.

  3. Colin

    So… did you get the frock? what is it like? do you have shoes to go with it?

  4. no, but i did buy a black knitted lace cardie that’s to die for…. which goes perfectly with the 58 pairs of black shoes already in my wardrobe… [ok, there might not be quite 58…]

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