The approach of Christmas has inaugurated the usual flood of outraged stories from the press: ‘political correctness gone mad’ is once again the battle cry. Lambeth and Havant councils seems to be this year’s targets charged with renaming Christmas lights as ‘winter lights’. Whatever the objective truth, the headlines reveal the tension between Christmas as an ecclesial and Christian festival and a cultural celebration somewhat embarrassed by its faith roots. This makes for both an opening for the Gospel, yet also means we find ourselves in a peculiar in-between situation.
Christmas is our opportunity. We may bemoan crassness and excess; we may even be concerned that the true message of Christmas is obscured. But … Christmas is the deepest penetration that the Church has in contemporary culture. It is our duty to seize the moment and reach out to those who sing carols, who send and receive Christmas cards and who link themselves with the Christian story.
Between paganism and Christendom. We must neither be complacently assured that underneath this is still a basically Christian context nor withdraw with the presumption that the world out there is entirely non-Christian or even anti-Christian. Rather we should celebrate the faith vestiges, discern connecting points with the gospel and use them to communicate a fuller appreciation of Christ. The Good News of Jesus is the best present anyone could receive this Christmas.
by Fr Philip Knights, CASE Team Member