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by ben last modified 24 Nov, 2017 04:09 PM

By the Rt Revd Dr Edward Condry, Bishop of Ramsbury

What are the Big Debates as we approach Christmas through Advent? Are they “What do you think of the John Lewis Advert?” and “Shall we have turkey again this year?”

Or perhaps the really big question is this: Do we celebrate streets filled with lights, stars and san-tas, sleighs, robins and elves; carols in supermarket aisles?

Or do we complain that commercialism has taken over and all is tawdry and cheap, a distraction from the true meaning of Bethlehem?

It is an old debate. I’m on the side of those who celebrate all this.

I love walking down dark streets, looking at white lights in front garden trees.

Bring on the choirs carolling in shopping centres. They all add to the sense of anticipation that some-thing marvellous is about to happen.

There have long been those who objected.

There are some who will have not allowed Christmas Trees in churches.

There have been purists who would not allow carol services before Christmas Day itself.

I see the lights in dark street trees as somehow reminding us of the incarnation of God in our world as the child Jesus.

Carols which sing, “Unto us a son is born” are a prompt, a reminder that beneath all this there is some-thing much greater, much deeper.

The profusion of lights outside the church may remind us all that God sent his Son to all the world, and not just to those in church.

He showed his concern for all: poor and wealthy, grieving and rejoicing.

The lights help me hear the angels sing. The lights lift my heart and give me hope in Advent.

The lights tell of the greater light that shines in the darkness, and that the darkness shall never over-come it.

Taken from the latest edition of Grapevine. Page here

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