There are a couple of things that irritate me during Christmas. The first is BoneyM's Christmas album. Why do shopping centers insist on playing BoneyM? Wake up! That album is almost 20 years old! Just hearing the Jamaican rendering of "Mary's boychild, Jesus Christ, was born on Christmas day..." drives me dilly. It is forever ingrained in my mind, so much so that as soon as I see the Christmas decorations go up, I hear it booming through my head. Thank you Pavlov, but I do not need this negative re-enforcement!
The second is the Calypso carol (See Him lying in a bed of straw...). Sorry Anne. Something tells me that I am developing a biased against anything Caribbean.
The third is clichéd advent and Christmas sermons. "It is not about he gift...", "It is better to give than to receive..." You name it, I've heard it. It is almost as bad as the clichéd image of ministers in the movies: Rowan Atkinson in a dog collar. This is a time for me to be especially quiet and to discern what God is saying to the world. I wonder if what God has to say has anything to do with how we view Christmas. No, I won't become all "sermonny" now, but I just wonder if there is something new which will be revealed this Christmas - something that is truly going to speak into people's lives and not just about this festive time. In short, is there going to be something so real in people's encounter with God during this advent and Christmas season that it will keep the hoards of people in church after Christmas day? More than that, will Christmas spark something in these people which will see a social transformation?
Maybe I'm expecting too much, but isn't our Christmas just about that - great expectations?
Perhaps something needs to spark in me first.
Please pray for me and all other ministers who are preparing sermons, messages and liturgies during this very difficult time in the liturgical year.