Sardine sandwiches and a walk. That was how a former colleague liked to spend Christmas Day. She might have felt more at home in the 1600s. In 1642 all Christmas plays and pageants were banned by Parliament. In 1643 all music was banned in church. In 1647 Christmas was banned altogether – and replaced with a day of fasting. Very unpopular!

Today is the start of Advent, the build up to Christmas. Do you embrace it with joy? Do you panic? Or even wish you could ban Christmas?

Many people ban the Christ from Christ-mas, replacing him with an X for Xmas. From my dim and distant recollection of mathematics, X represents something unknown. If we leave Christ out of Christmas, we celebrate… what, exactly? A winter festival? The opportunity to eat, drink and be merry? However worthy and fun these things may be, it seems a pity to miss the real point of Christmas.

Advent provides preparation time to ponder the fact that God came to earth in human form. We live in a world that is dark and uncertain. Jesus is ‘the source of life, and this life brought light to the world. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.’ Trying to ban Christmas is therefore futile. Instead, let Christ make Christmas a time of joy and hope for you.

PS A Christmas poem is on the Poems page, and some winter photos in the Photo Gallery.

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