'Kick'em in the Baubles' - so ran the banner headline for a full page spread in the Sun Newspaper Today. Indeed in some editions it was the front page (not here in Scotland where we had a picture of the MacDonald brothers of 'X' Factor fame!)
The Sun's complaint as they unashameably showed a picture of a decorated Christmas tree was agains the 'PC killjoys' who want to ban Christmas. This reaction was provoked by a survey that showed that 'three out of four firms have banned festive decorations for fear of offending religious minorities'. They write: 'Our bold decision to publish and be damned flies in the face of the snowballing attempt to strip Christmas of all its meaning and fun'.
In the editorial they claim that we are 'seeing centuries-old customs barred on daft safety grounds' and write:
- Mince pies are outlawed as a health risk
- Firms are banning Christmas decorations in case they offend other faiths
- Christmas has been rebranded as Winterval
- Cards carry 'Holiday Greetings' instead of 'Merry Christmas'.
- Nativity scenes are banned in case non-Christians find them offensive.
They write: We need to act now - before Christmas becomes just another boring public holiday.
Oh dear - oh dear what to make of all of this in Advent;
Should I rejoice (as a Free Church radical) at the collapse (quicker now than the England cricket team - sorry!) of another bastion of Christendom that will release the purity of the Church into its true witness. Come on for years we have preached against Christmas being about tinsel and baubles.
Should I lament the above complaining of discrimination against Christianity and Christian festivals because well after all we have a Christian heritage if we are not necessarily a Christian country.
As I reflected I actually moved out of the Christendom/non-Christendom box of thinking into one of more general culture and indeed specifically popular culture as represented if indeed not defended by the Sun and sometimes despised and rejected by the Church.
I found myself longing for a non-Christendom, Free Church response to the 'popular spirituality' if not 'popular Christianity' represented in the glitter and baubles rather than feeling that I wanted as I have in the past to rant against it. I found myself searching about in the tinsel and baubles for Jesus maybe realising that actually in some peoples memory and experience he is there and rather than complaining about that I should be seeking to explore and expose and rejoice in that creatively with them not against them so that he can appear the more brightly as Good News.
I don't know...I'm just wondering...but in wondering as I walked past the gaudily decorated Christmas trees in the streets where I work - I sensed that he could be there...