Christmas is for Adults too
Christmas is for adults too!
It has become commonplace to hear complaints about how early Christmas appears in the shops, but I am not one of the complainers! In the Church, we have not even started the time of preparation yet – the reflective season of Advent begins on Sunday 27 November – but I must admit that for the last few weeks I have been enjoying thinking about Christmas. I have admired special window displays, enjoyed making lists and plans and contemplated buying yet another magazine of special recipes! (I do look forward, however, to when we can celebrate an Australian Christmas: I know that polar bears are cute as stuffed toys, but the last time I looked, they were not part of the Australian landscape!)
What you will hear me complaining about is something else: the idea that Christmas is just for children, or just for families with young children. Sharing Christmas with children is undoubtedly a delightful thing to do: it’s plain fun for a start, and an important way for children to be brought up with strong, grounded hope. But actually, there is a lot about Christmas that is for grown-ups. In the Christmas story, we can find gutsy answers to the existential questions of life: Are we loved? Do we matter? How can we be reconciled to all that is against life and human flourishing? Who or what can we depend on? What goals are worth striving for?
The Christmas story takes us back to a bleak middle-eastern night, but, more importantly, it gives us eyes to see the present in a new way. If it is true that Jesus is “true God from true God”, “light from light” (to quote an early church Creed); and if this light “enlightens everyone who comes into the world” (to quote John’s gospel), then we have a stunning starting point for understanding life, for seeing every single particular life. My life, your life, our lives together…have been touched by nothing less than the light of the all holy, all loving, eternal God. That’s the kind of understanding that can surely make a difference to every single day of our lives, and our attitude towards the life we have been given.
So all you adults out there – mums and dads, grandmas and grandpas, aunties and uncles, brothers and sisters and friends of our girls – may I encourage you to be involved in Christmas this year for your own sake, as well as for the children. Take your children to Christmas services, but also go with ears ready to hear something new for you; supervise your children dressing up a Christmas tree, but also think about what you would like to put out for display, to help you to prepare for Christmas. I have included a very practical resource here, titled Taking Advent Home. In these pages you will find suggestions about how to make your own Advent Wreath and prayers to say as you light each candle, as well as some ideas about a Christmas Crib (Nativity scene) and Christmas tree. I am grateful to Rev’d David Moore at St John’s in Camberwell for seeking permission from the author of Taking Advent Home, Father David Wood, to share this with our school community.
May I take this opportunity to wish you some moments of quiet and peace during the Advent season. And may Christmas be a time of light, healing and joy. My prayers are especially with those members of our school community who will be missing loved ones this Christmas. We will be missing Ms Avril Vandersay, one of our music Administration staff, whose funeral was held on Monday 7 November. As it was not possible for many members of the community to attend her funeral, we will be holding a Thanksgiving Service at Camberwell Girls on Wednesday 23 November at 3.45pm, in the Chapel, for those who would like to attend.
Rev Helen Creed