It hasn’t felt like Christmas. There have been glimmers here and there, in the smiles and hugs of friends, in the Christmas messages, but somehow each year it dwindles as the Christmas child stands neglected by all but a few.
Even on TV there used to be several nativity movies to choose from at Christmas, but even Netflix and Amazon Prime had none. There are no carollers on our doorsteps (they’ve switched to Halloween) and TV has long replaced family carols around the piano. I sometimes feel I’m searching here and there, under this or behind that for Christmas. I look back in nostalgia to long ago Christmases when it was cold and presents lay at the end of the bed so we could stay warm opening them till dad went to build up the coal fire. When dads got ties or socks and kids were often disappointed on opening presents to find hand-knitted sweaters of questionable taste. When money was short, and joys were simple, and the tree candles could be lit only for a few minutes due to the fire risk. When the table was heavy oak handed down from mother to daughter and we actually enjoyed the jokes and paper hats and were jolly without needing to resort to more than a glass of port or sherry.
No good to look back, those days are past, along with the simplicity of childhood. No, better to look forward, to light a candle, that by it the Christ child’s face can yet be seen. For light is seen better in darkness. Rather than to seek a flame to warm our hearts, rather be that flame, be a warm, cosy fire to warm others and be warmed in return. Do not seek Christmas but live it, only in this shall we find the Christ child.