The true meaning of Christmas? Bah Humbug!

A couple of glimpses of Christmas. I caught a glimpse of Ant and Dec as I was searching for something else on the TV last night. It was only a glimpse; which is about all I get of Ant and Dec before my thumb automatically clicks again. All I heard was that the true meaning of Christmas was about giving: quite a common statement these days.

I also caught glimpse, actually more than a glimpse, of The One Show last night. Chris Evans and Alex Jones went next door from the BBC to All Souls Langham Place. They gatecrashed a carol service but described it as visiting a neighbour. One of clergy there said that visiting neighbours was important at Christmas because many people are lonely at this time of year. He described God as the best good neighbour because instead of staying away he came round to see us in Jesus! An interesting take. Alex Jones looked rather taken a back!

This time of year makes me feel (at act) rather Bah Humbugesque! So instead of being the grumpy old man that I am, I decided that I would think about what the Bible tells us about the birth of Christ and more specifically, what it tells us about God.

The events of the birth of Christ are to be found in only two of the four gospels: Matthew and Luke. They are very different stories. Matthew’s account is minimalist. Apart from Jesus’ genealogy, Matthew recounts Joseph’s dream, the story of the Magi, the escape to Egypt and return to Nazareth. Luke is far more detailed a really does feel like an eye-witness account. The repetition of how Mary pondered these things in her heart could be evidence to say that Luke got the story from her.

Over the next three days I will write some short reflections for Christmas, hopefully to prompt us, and me especially not to be Scrouge-like but to understand more of what God is telling us about himself in these stories.