district header logo top smNottingham and Derby District of the Methodist Church

 

Well, here we are having arrived at the end of Boxing Day 2017, and we've survived another year !

or have we ?

Many of us will tell of how good and wonderful it has been but I wonder "at what cost ?"

Don't get me wrong Alison and I have had the most wonderful of times, sharing with our daughter and her family and now looking forward to the visit of our other daughter and her partner at the weekend. Combined with the coming and goings of good friends, Church worship and each other it has been a marvellous couple of days, but sadly I think that society pays a cost for Christmas often.

Firstly the cost of an increase in the "me, me, me" mentality as often expressed through many in the Brexit camp; that sense of I want what I want irrespective of the consequences and, like a child, some folk rarely stop to think of the consequences as long as they can return to their idealised view of the British Empire. This happens in so many other ways as well, in Church with its constant harking back to halcyon days of packed buildings (!), in music recalling the heady days of our youth (glam rock et al), and so on. So often we all, in some way, hold a mentality which is about getting what we want and we say its human nature, but I don't think it can be what God intended for us.

Secondly the cost in the rise of the "more, more, more" generation as consumer spending increases to disproportionate levels in comparison to income. The news has shown today that although Boxing Day footfall has been down in many places internet sales have risen, and all this on the first day after many households have gone into debt in order to 'enjoy' Christmas. The big multi-nationals have conned us into always wanting something more, something new, something supposedly better, and we all fall into their trap, myself included.

And somewhere in the midst of all this is the true cost; that is the cost of losing the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas has become for many little more than a round of buying more, thinking of what we're going to get and somewhere in the midst is an empty manger for Christ has been removed and replaced by consumerism.

Now this makes me seem like a "Bah, Humbug" Ebeneezer Scrooge type of character: trust me, I'm not for it actually gives me hope. You see I think that buying more and more is often about wanting what we don't have and the power we think it might give us, over family, friends, neighbours etc. and I think that when we think of "me, me, me" we're actually putting ourselves at the centre of the world.

The shepherds, with their simple lifestyles would probably have dreamt of palaces etc but knew it was beyond them and so when the angels appeared they didn't think of themselves, nor did they laud it over others as the special ones, but they simply did all the angels asked of them. They went to Bethlehem and worshipped, the child in the centre of the nativity.

Their adoration was on Him, not themselves, nor the latest e-type sheep pen, but on the one who truly mattered. The loss of the chid from the manger has become the real cost of our modern Christmas's, for its the loss of presence of the one who came from Heaven seeking a relationship with those He had created.

Thankfully, we can get a refund on that cost, simply by saying "YES" to Jesus I our lives and following Him to the best of our abilities.

Do YOU want a refund ?

Rev Mike Redshaw

© 2017 Nottingham and Derby District of the Methodist Church