17 for Christmas

17 for Christmas

You’re probably thinking to yourself: 17 what? 17 around the table for Christmas Dinner?

Well, in the paper today I’ve read a report of the results of a poll conducted by Amazon. The paper didn’t report the sample size, or the date and circumstances in which the data was collected. So the figures are doubtless to be taken with a touch of salt. But according to the poll, 17 is, on average, the number of gifts which an adult will buy at Christmas. And, of course, as well as giving gifts, we receive them - but what do we do with unwanted presents? Apparently, 47% of people living in London are likely to repackage the gift and give it to someone else. And what do we say to the person who has given us the unwanted gift? Well, it appears that in some parts of the country, 81% of us are likely to pretend that we like the gift.  Little white lies make social interaction so much smoother, and I’m sure in most cases they do little if any harm.

Christmas gift giving can be a very stressful experience.  We can feel under pressure to spend more than we can afford, assuming of course we can afford to spend anything at all.  Then there is the hassle - or the joy - of choosing appropriate presents. What will he or she like? What did I get them last Christmas? Should we give a physical gift at all, or would it be better to make a donation in their name to a charity of our choice?

Gift giving is hard enough for us humans, but what about for God? If you were God, what present would you give to us human beings? What do you think human beings need?

For Christians, Christmas is about celebrating God’s decision to give a gift, and not just any old gift. God decided to give the gift of his own self. He did this by becoming a human being,  taking a human body, spirit and mind, in Jesus Christ.  God chose to do this so that he might share his life with us, so that his love and light, and joy and peace may shine in us and through us.

What a gift!

May the wonder and joy of this gift be ours this Christmastime and always!

Fr Jason