The title of this post came to me at 5 o’clock this morning, and I immediately started to construct a post in my mind, centred around this question: what is the biggest threat to Christmas? It’s not Muslims: Jesus is a prophet in Islam and most Muslims are quite happy to go along with celebrating Christmas in a minor sort of way. It’s not Sikhs or Hindus or Jews or those of any other religion. It’s not even militant atheists like Richard Dawkins. Nope, it’s our good ol’ friend commercialism, who, the minute a religious festival pops up rubs his hands together, sets up a stall and starts cashing in.
Of course this is nothing new: from the money-changers in the temple to medieval purveyors of religious relics, people have always tried to cash in on religion; but I am starting to feel a little like Jesus. What with Black Friday and Christmas starting in October and all the relentless shopping, I’m itching to get in there and do whatever is the modern equivalent of overturning the tables.
Our Christmas has cost about £250 in all; including food, presents, cards and decorations. Now I’m not saying ideally I wouldn’t have liked to spend a bit more, but I’m not convinced that if I had it would, to quote Jane Austen, have added considerably to my happiness – or anyone else’s.
Anyway, today is the solstice, which is a time for acknowledging the darkness while remembering the light; a time for lighting candles rather than cursing the dark; a time for reflection. It is hard to recall now that Advent (which continues until Christmas Eve) is traditionally a time of fasting rather than manic shopping and endless parties.
So this Christmas as well as thinking of the homeless and empoverished, spare a thought for those who think Christmas comes from a store. Because they are truly the poorest of the poor…