The Bishop of Dorking, The Rt Revd Ian Brackley asks if the pressure of Christmas is all worth it, as he gives his Christmas message. Listen via the Soundcloud link here or see the text below:
“It must be your busy time” everybody I meet seems to say to me, as it was said to me year after year as Christmas approached when I was vicar of a parish. Busyness can mean hyperactivity, no time for people, too many things to get done, civility and courtesy disappearing from the supermarket car parks and pressure, pressure, pressure. Is it all worth it? What’s it all for?
When I was vicar I used to treasure the moment on Christmas Eve when I could go over to church, ostensibly to check that everything was ready for the first of our Christmas services. The flower ladies had worked their magic, the crib with Mary and Joseph was ready awaiting the arrival of the baby Jesus, who would be placed there at the Midnight Mass, and there was just me there, me and God. Here was a chance to spend a few moments of quiet reflection and focus on why all the busyness and preparation – what’s it all for?
So I simply suggest you try to find a few moments amidst all the busyness of preparation for Christmas to reflect on what’s it all for. Perhaps sit down and pick up a Christmas card and focus on why we send greetings and good wishes to one another. What lies behind it? Why is it called Christmas? It is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. In the birth of Jesus, God shows how much he cares for and loves the human race. This child shows us what God is like. He was born for you and for me to help us draw closer to God. All our anxieties and fears can be laid at his feet. So take a pause for thought and then enjoy all that is to come with friends and family and remember that at the heart of the celebration there is a feast of love, God’s love for you and for me. And if we could all begin to grasp that, who knows, perhaps peace and goodwill will break out even in the supermarket car park.