The Magic or Meaning of Christmas
I almost feel sorry for Christmas this year. So much pressure! After last year’s subdued celebrations (especially for anyone with family on the Northern Beaches) it feels like we need to make up for last year and rediscover the elusive ‘magic’ of Christmas.
This year’s Christmas is ripe for overachieving. Super-size the prawns, make Christmas lunch a hatted experience, go full ‘Griswolds’ with the lights and splurge on gifts for all and sundry to make up for last year.
The catch is, the global supply chain is already buckling under the pressure of Christmas. The magnificent modern feat that delivers goods and gadgets to our homes was brought to its knees, first by a virus and then by our pandemic-induced new spending habits.
When the ‘Ever Given’ blocked the world’s busiest shipping lane for six days in March, it was only the beginning of the backlog. Do you remember the little digger trying to set free this huge container ship? It was the perfect meme for the pointlessness of everything, from trying to tame your to-do list, to another new year’s resolution about more exercise.
This Christmas, parents might need to explain the complexities of global trade to disappointed children – maybe try something about Santa’s reindeers not getting their carrots delivered in time?
Of course, there might be an upside. The Onion joked that the shortages could lead Americans to discover the true meaning of Christmas.
“The White House warned… ‘Unless these unprecedented scarcities are reversed soon, hundreds of thousands of Americans could be forced to learn that there is more to life than material objects’.”
Perhaps this year we need to choose between the magic of Christmas and the meaning of Christmas. Less plastic trinkets and more treasured relationships (which would also, mercifully, be a win for the environment). Less overachieving and more humble joy. Less materialism and more meaning.
Besides, the first Christmas was never meant to unleash an annual day of performance art, hoping to bottle the magic of Christmas in a MasterChef meal or the elusive discovery of the perfect gift for the person who has everything. The first Christmas was all about humble joy. There’s a royal baby whose first bassinet was an animal feeding trough. There’s the good news that, even though we’re a lot like the yellow digger hopelessly trying to save ourselves, there is a God who loved us enough to send us a Saviour. And Jesus is still good news today, to help us know the humble joy of Christmas without all the pressure.
In other good news, Clovelly’s biggest Christmas street party is going ahead on Sunday, December 12, with kids activities from 4.30pm, a kids show at 6pm and carols from 7pm. Everyone is welcome!
Dave Rogers is the Lead Minister of St Luke’s, Clovelly. Watch online or explore more at clovelly.org.au.