One of the imaginative campaigns at this time of year says Christmas starts with Christ. You can see their posters in many cities and they have a neat, punchy set of slogans, often tied into other advertising campaigns. So, one says “Does Christmas start with a penguin?” No prizes for working out who that’s aimed at. The answer is, of course, no … Christmas starts with Christ.
Hat tip to them. It’s clear and understandable with their simple gift tag logo (pictured) it works well without being too preachy.
The problem, I guess, for those of us who would like a return to some mythical snow-tinted age when everyone crowded into a candle-lit church desperate to hear the preacher’s well-honed wisdom on the Incarnation and the Christ at the beginning of Christmas is that such an age never really existed.
It’s fine for a Miss Marple novel to have people crunching through the snow and blowing into their hands as a smiling vicar welcomes them into the parish church on a cold and frosty Christmas morning. Although, having said that, one of them probably wouldn’t make it out alive! Similarly in any of the Midsomer villages.
For most of us, Christmas starts in a shopping centre. That’s true even for those of us who believe that Christmas has at its heart the Prince of Peace and Saviour of the World.
Like the picture at the top of this post, we begin looking for Christ but find this instead …
In the wonderful worship resource Cloth for the Cradle, produced by the Iona Community, there is an Advent prayer We Suspect Angels In it there is the line:
We admit ourselves
to be both infected and affected
by the spirit of our times.
Perhaps the search for Christ at the heart of Christmas begins when we realise the truth of that and turn our eyes to something altogether different.