I am sure some of you reading this have at some time in your life looked at your reflection in a mirror that distorted your image. What did you think? Did it make you laugh or leave with an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach? Did the image stay with you? Did it frighten you?
I was reflecting on how distorted Christmas has become. The image of Jesus’ birth has been used to sell everything from sweets to socks over the years. And although people go on about a secular society, when I asked a group of children, from very diverse backgrounds, why we celebrate Christmas, most of them said it was ‘Jesus’ Birthday’. Not so many were sure about who Jesus was. So I explained that in my faith tradition he was the son of God. Silence followed by ‘God, who?’!!! There was no question about the existence of God, but they needed an explanation.
Adults often assume the image they have of Christmas is understood by everyone, in the same way.
In your reflections this Christmas, think about your images of Christmas and how it shapes your life and faith? Then we will be better equipped to share the story of hope and love.
I hope the image you have of Christmas does not leave you feeling uncomfortable or frightened. But I acknowledge that for some people Christmas time can be very difficult.
For me, among all the images of love and hope, light, stars and a small defenceless child born in difficult circumstances, there is a challenge to try to be the Christian that Jesus, whose journey started at Christmas, would like me to be.
I Corinthians 13