Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas – what a funny old mess.


Christmas – what a funny old mess.

For example:
> I have a Jewish friend who celebrates Christmas because he likes presents, turkey and pudding. He doesn't have a clue that the true meaning of Christmas is Santa Claus - or is it the Easter Bunny, or tinsel, or an angel up a tree?

> When I was about 20, I had a Pastor who abhorred Christmas as a being a Christian festival and wouldn't hold a Christmas church service because he was a Puritan and Christmas was 'draped in the rags of popery'. He did however like pudding and turkey and presents.

> I was in Bethlehem this year where the Greek and Armenian priests hold their annual Christmas punch-up about who gets first dibs on poking their head in the place of Christ's birth. The actual 'supposed' slab where the manger is said to have been placed is filled with candles and is encased in bird wire and looks like a ferret's cage. I must have missed something, because other people were crying in awe. I got the giggles.

> There is supposed to have been a woman who complained aloud in a card shop when she saw a nativity scene on a Christmas card, 'The (*&*&%^&$ church! They try to get religion into everything.'

It's a mess. 
With Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Sinta Klaus, trees, baubles, tinsel,  televised carols by candlelight shows, pudding, charity appeals, suicides, turkey, rampant alcohol abuse, rampant gluttony, rampant present abuse, rampant card abuse, superstition, emotional pap about it being Jesus birthday (spare us!) the invention of Winterval, Chrisukka, Happy Holidays, political appeasement and cultural sensitivity, deaths on the roads and it only being 11 months since last one, I don't know whether to take up arms and oppose the whole thing or just go back to watching the cricket on TV and have another fruit mince pie.

So what's Christmas all about?
Apparently Christmas is about whatever you like, and as long as you don't think your take on it is true, I'm OK with that. My reality is that as long as I get turkey, pudding and a present on Christmas day I'm happy because I celebrate the reality of Jesus everyday of the year and that he took action and conquered death and that he is not the reason for the season but he is in fact The Season and will remain so, day after punishing day, until the Great Day when we shall know him as he is.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Lamborghini or an Antarctic Prison

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Here's the question of the day:
If you could choose between eliminating world poverty and Bill Gates' fortune, what colour would your Lamborghini be?

Mine would be silver because I don't like to be ostentatious, so red and yellow are out and black gets too hot in summer. If it's silver I can park it at church and the other people will think it's just a fancy Nissan or Toyota and won't think that I'm in wastrel.

I am sure you would be different though. You would have world poverty eliminated by Friday wouldn't you? The sex-slave trade would be eliminated, child soldiers would be returned to their mothers, the refugees on the boats would be able to go home to their then-safe countries because all the bad people would be in the big jail you would build in Antarctica where if they escaped they could accidentally freeze to death or stab each other with icicles.

On second thoughts, that's what I would do to. Forgive me please. 

However I hasten to say I would need to administer it all from a comfortable office with a nice view so I wouldn't get overstressed. I would need a quality entertainment suite because I would be entertaining so many dignitaries, celebrities and politicians and we'd need good coffee in fine china with Belgian shortbread at morning tea and my own kitchen for the staff to cook lunch and a chauffer, and oh yes, I nearly forgot – my own jet. 

The whole thought makes me wonder how serious I am about eliminating world poverty.  I struggle to keep my candle burning bright in my small corner let alone become a city set on a hill that can't be hidden, and never even think of being a cosmic conflagration that burns the landscape clean. Such were William Wilberforce (abolition of slavery), Lord Shaftesbury (abolition of child labour), Robert Raikes (schools for poor children on Sundays) and hundreds of other heroes of the past and the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates of today.

How serious, really, is the prayer, 'God please let me earn more so that I can give more.'?  Why don't I start in tiny ways this morning by letting the kid in the coffee shop keep the change or by buying a copy of “The Big Issue" from the scary looking bloke with the one-eyed dog, or maybe put a bit more on the  sponsorship form for the people doing the World Vision 40 hour famine? Maybe I could grow a gift I don't have and enlarge a heart that is too small with little homeopathic doses of goodness.

Or I could just lie down until this unpleasant feeling goes away. Nah. I did that yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, and the...

Anyway

To infinity and beyond.

Live long and prosper.

Colin Pearce