Ah Christmas eve. Little kiddies staring out of the frozen windows searching the sky looking for a fat man on a sledge, and this pulled by reindeer! People travelling home, often late at night, by road, rail and hitching a lift. That is unless they are trapped in the terminus or on a main road by weather or delay of course. Cards fill houses, often from people long forgotten, portraying robins in snow, Victorian scenes depicting happy people (yet missing out the rickets, hunger and workhouses. What makes a Victorian Christmas special anyway?), others favour three men on camels pointing to a star in the sky, three men each with a vacuum flask of coffee and a pack of sandwiches for their long dangerous journey at that! Some portray a child newly born in a little wooden stable, a golden glow around his head, while shepherds, western looking at that, bow before him. Hollywood has a lot to answer for! Ah Christmas eve, a time of 'magical' experience according to brainless blonde bimbos that bounce across the telly each year. For these women it should be 'magical,' they record the programme in May and she is paid well enough to afford Christmas! Repeats of old comedy on TV as the new stuff is not funny enough, films of varying worth take up the space broadcasters have not got the brains to fill properly and News men forced to work over a quiet period hope for a major disaster to fill time otherwise they remain well paid for being bored out of their minds for three days.
Everybody is happy on Christmas eve! Well dad is still peeved. The middle class female head teacher would not let him take pictures of the lassie at the Nativity play, just in case he was a paedophile! Dad's answer to this, along with several other dad's, contained little suitable for Christmas broadcasting. Mum is peeved because she is the only one who can wrap presents properly, she says, and she has to do 'everything' because he can't do anything properly. He ignores this rant as most men know that what 'has' to be done does not really have to be done anyway. Shop staff look forwards to the crowds easing so they can head for the pub to rest their feet and join those who have already left work long before to worship in Hogarthian revelry the birth of the saviour who came for them.
Ah yes him. Born in a cave most likely, not a wooden stable, smelly shepherds, the lowest of the low in society of the day alongside the Magi did worship in his crowded stable. No glow around any of them, especially Mary who may well have been exhausted, you know how women fuss over such things, and she may well have been only fourteen or fifteen years of age. (Don't tell the headteachers for crying out loud! They will blame Joseph!) The arrival of the Magi and their large following would certainly surprise the folks there, as they did Herod! One thing Herod was keen on was to keep his position, kings tend to be like that don't they? His reaction of killing a dozen or more toddlers would surprise none in those days, and few would write about it even if they were able to write. Such murders occur in the Sudan and the Congo today and we never notice or care, why should anyone then? The Magi's understanding of the 'star,' possibly a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, may well have satisfied them and off they would go, leaving the folks puzzled but a wee bit wealthier.
Was this really God in human form? Did God really come to earth among the lowest of the low? If he did, and if he died for us some thirty years later we need to understand why, and what to do about this great event. Victorian cards, robins sitting on snow covered branches and piss up's in pubs and their after effects do not tell us much about Christmas. This is merely a midwinter festival as we look to the shorter nights and the coming of Spring glorious Spring! Jesus himself was wise enough to arrive in the much warmer April or possibly June. No fool he! The anti climax that follows our Christmas's may possibly be lessened if we saw Christmas for what it really is rather than what the commercial world would have us believe. There is more to life than entertaining pantomimes, watching the kids open their gifts, good though that is, and a 'magical' but cold winter festival. There is something greater we should grasp.