When the shops closed on Christmas Eve we opened our Chapel door. We said the hustle and bustle has finished – time for reflection on what it is all about.
Those who came sat in a circle by candle light. We talked about past Christmases we remembered, of the special presents we’d received.
Some brought a poem to read, or a story about Christmas. Some remembered absent loved ones and friends and lit a candle for them.
We talked about the origins of Christmas – the Roman Festival where master and servant changed places for a day – that gives us pantomimes, the midwinter feast with log fires that gave us the yule log, the country persons customs of decorating the house with holly and ivy, the tradition of giving a thank you gift once a year to all who had helped us be comfortable. The Victorian Christmas tree and cards.
All this and then the Christian story of the journey to Bethlehem, the baby born in a stable, gifts from the three Persian magi – shepherds, and angels singing on the hill top.
At a time of year when the night is longest, the winter is deepest and we yearn for spring and the warm weather.
It feels that this is the day when heaven and all that is good has descended to be very close to the earth. We dimly see through the veil that separates these worlds that life can be a celebration – of joy and goodwill and peace.
I am tony mcneile, a unitarian