Happy Christmas...

If you want to know the true meaning of Christmas, we’re told, be like the carrot in one of the cleverest TV commercials I’ve seen so far this year, based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Christmas is, apparently, about being good, unselfish, and prepared to share with others. At least that - along with encouragement to shop in a certain supermarket - seems to be the message of the advert.

It's easier to make sense of the advert if you know the original story. On holiday in Scotland years ago I came across a book called The Story of Goliath and Wee Davie. It is based on the Biblical story in which, against the odds, David the shepherd boy defeats Goliath the Philistine giant in battle. But according to Jimmie Macgregor’s illustrated version, alcohol was the real reason for Goliath’s downfall – but the humour only really works if you do know the original story.

I was at a clergy meeting not long ago where we were encouraged to have something available in our churches that might explain, in simple terms, what Christianity is about – because the days when it could be assumed that everyone would know the original story have gone.

Over the next few weeks there will be plenty of opportunities to hear the original Christmas story. I always look forward to December, and to catching up with those who come to our Carol Services, our Crib Services on Christmas Eve, and Midnight Mass - and I hope that we might see you there.

And we must remember that being good, unselfish, and prepared to share with others is for life, not just for Christmas. And not just for carrots, either.

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas, and a Peaceful New Year.