Are we really observing Christmas ?
Britain is essentially a christian country, the religion acknowledged by the state. Bishops sit in our upper parliament by royal decree. However we seem to have forgotten our christian teachings. Religion isn’t an important part of many people’s lives and maybe organised religion must take some of the blame for the decline, but that’s an argument for another day. How quickly though we forget the cornerstones of the religion, forgiveness, openness and tolerance. Jesus was a remarkable person, whether you believe him to be the son of god or not. He saw good in everyone and was quick to forgive and help those who were in trouble, near to death and troubled. Most religions acknowledge his goodness and his values. Christian values are good and worth upholding though, even as it seems that those in power seem to put other interests before them.
It’s ironic at this time of year that virtually ever primary school in the Uk will be holding a Christmas concert featuring a nativity scene. We all know the story by now, awwed at all the cute kids dressed as angels, shepherds and kings. We’ve seen how the baby Jesus was born in a stable, maybe had a few tears when the children sang Away in a Manger. Yet maybe it could have been avoided if the innkeeper, obviously an early Trump or Farage, turned them away because it was full. ‘No room at the Inn’ he said to them. A pivotal moment but an important one. Jesus would live his life afterwards forever helping people even though his parents had been turned away from numerous places. I guess it’s understandable that people marvelled at his good deeds and wanted to follow his way. Somewhere over the years though the initial message got lost and convoluted by the custodians of it. Whilst Jesus needed no place to preach to his followers, the modern and indeed ancient, church seem to need huge splendid building to thank this man for. (another time for that discussion though)
Roll on two thousand years or so and has life changed that much? Europe is shutting it doors everyday to refugees who are knocking at our doors asking for a peaceful and safe place to stay. Like all those innkeepers in Bethlehem we are turning them away, denying them access. They’re left, like Joseph and Mary to languish in refugee camps in makeshift shelters. At some point we have to solve this problem. Please let it be soon. How many more do we have to turn away. To those like Farage and the other Brexiters, it’s Christmas, we need to show compassion to others at this time of year. We need to stop this endless racism, of closing our borders. We need to make a christian gesture and welcome them as Jesus would have done. I’m not religious as such, but I see the fundamentals he stood for and welcome them with open arms.
First Published in 2016