I feel sorry for the hapless lady vicar from Norfolk who told the local Primary School children that Father Christmas does not exist, and was then promptly condemned by the parents' playground knitting cabal, as well as the local Archdeaconess, who apologised for this 'slip-up'. When I put my stocking out for Santa to fill up on Christmas Eve, I shall expect him, Rudolph and entourage to appear as usual!
On a serious note, perhaps many of us have, inadvertently taken Christ out of Christmas. At the Westminster Cathedral Christmas celebration last night, I listened to the reading from 'The Mystery of the Incarnation' by Cardinal George Basil Hume, beautifully read by Sue Lawley. I quote from it:
"There was no room for them in the inn. The world went on its own way, event following on event, uninterested and unconcerned about the great event that would take place, not in the inn but in a cave. The people at that time were hardly to be blamed, for after all they did not know what was taking place in Bethlehem. Is it the same for us? The event has taken place, THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT IN THE WHOLE OF HISTORY: GOD BECAME MAN. Our generation cannot be excused for being uninterested and unconcerned."
What profound and compelling words! My New Year resolution, both as an organiser of Christian pilgrimages and as a human being, will be to heed these words, and to run my company and my life with this supreme truth always in my mind. I hope that our work at Pax Travel enables many of you, who are reading this, to fulfil your wish to go on pilgrimage, perhaps to venerate the Turin Shroud, to walk in the steps of St Francis in Umbria, or to celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Mexico. Take a look on our website and make your resolution to walk (or ride) with us on pilgrimage in 2015.
I wish all our clients and readers a blessed Christmas and joyful New Year.
Photo by Jeff Wesse on Flickr