Can I share a guilty secret with you? I love Christmas! Very unfashionable I know but I love the lead-up, the lights, the children’s excitement, everything. Now I admit I have no children or grandchildren so I’m not under the same pressures as parents are but I take my hat off to the young parents I know who use this time of the year as a way to educate their children in making choices and a pretty good way of encouraging good behaviour.
I have a professional interest in Christmas too. When I was in the regular vicars I had innumerable carol services to take – my personal record for one year was thirteen but I know vicars who have taken twice as many as that. That meant that I had to have my “personal” Christmas sorted by the end of October so that I could be ready for whatever December brought. One year I had three funerals in the four days before Christmas so I was glad that the decks were clear to allow me to give my full care and attention to the bereaved families.
So cards had to be made and written, presents chosen and as far as possible wrapped and food planned by the end of October. Christmas sermons were drafted by the end of November, and December was still a hard slog. At that time I still had my Mother and sister so I wanted to spend time with them. The vicarage had to be decorated and hospitality offered to the parish as well as shared with family and friends.
So please don’t complain about the stuff which is in the shops so early. Some people have to prepare their personal festivities early just so they can have a Christmas at all.