20th December 2021

This is my last ‘thought for the day’ before a break for Christmas so first I must wish you the Christmas for which you have hoped and prepared. As I write this, it seems as if we shall all be able to meet family and friends unlike last year.

I have been thinking about how much of what we do at Christmas is our traditions. I defy you to describe your Christmases without finding yourself saying “We always…” or “We never…” (This applies to us personally and to our church traditions.)

Now for a minute, come with me to Australia. Just imagination! Those who would love to be there with family cannot go this year.

It is just after the longest day. Daylight until 9.30 p.m. in Melbourne and 30oC. An Australian Catholic friend once remarked that Christmas should be moved to the end of June for them. She was joking but all the symbolism of the coming of light in candle-lit carol services, lights in homes and on the streets makes little sense. Carols about winter make no sense when you never have a frosty morning.

Food becomes a tradition of a barbie (barbecue) on the beach or at a lake with shade from the sun and Eskies to keep the tinnies (‘cold boxes for the beer’ in English). No turkey, no Christmas pudding.

So what is essential for us Christians here and for them? Not donkeys and girls with tinsel haloes, but to remember that God sent Christ to the whole world.

‘And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’.

Margaret Clements