The Revd.

Matthew J Hughes

01689 856931

Associate Rector   

The Revd.
Stephen Broadie
 07722 428553

December Leader:  

‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,’ so sang Bing Crosby in 1941. In many parts of the world snow is becoming increasingly rare at any time of the year, let alone Christmas. It is now irrefutable that the temperature of the world is increasing and will increase with serious consequences for the whole planet if greenhouse gasses are not reduced.

Environmental issues and how we live are now no longer the preserve of a few cranky fringe movements as it used to be when I was growing up. Now, the way we treat our environment is discussed at every level of our economic, political and individual life, Christmas is no exception.

Here are a few facts:

Christmas is worth £42 billion to the UK economy

Christmas dinners are 150 million miles worth of carbon emissions, that's one car driving 6,000 times round the world

We consume on average 10 million turkeys, 370 million mince pies and 205 million glasses of Champagne

We use 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging

We send enough Christmas cards that, if placed side by side, would cover the circumference of the world 500 times

The average family spends £40 on wasted food, or £ 4.8 million nationally, that's 230,000 tonnes of unwanted Christmas treats

By March 41% of toys will be broken and be on their way to landfill

8 million Christmas trees are cut down

200,000 trees are felled for wrapping paper and cards of which 365,000 kilometres of shiny paper are unable to be recycled

That's not to mention the vast amount of travel that is undertaken at this time of the year. (Source of statistics - Business Leader web page).

‘Bah humbug!’  The ECO-Grinch just stole our Christmas. People may say, “Isn't Christmas supposed to be a time for celebration, good food, family, gifts and presents? Do not all these statistics just make us feel guilty and miserable on top of everything else we have to contend with?”

No one wants to play Scrooge at Christmas. What's to be done? Perhaps we need to start with a couple of questions; ‘How do we celebrate Christmas and why do we celebrate it in the way we do?’ Is it family tradition, customs of the past, expectations, or is it anxiety about it not being perfect? All this plays a part in the way Christmas is celebrated. Does Christmas have to be exactly this way in order for Christmas to be happy?

As we need to think about the impact of our lives on this planet, the birth of baby Jesus in a stable invites us to see things differently. I am struck by the simplicity and gentleness of Jesus lying there as a newborn, in his wooden crib, in a stable. As he lies there he is loved by his mother Mary, he is born to love us and teach us about the way to love. Jesus owned nothing and at his death even his garments were gambled away. The uniting feature of Christmas for all people is the acknowledgment of family and love. That is why it can be both a happy and indeed painful time. What do we really need to love and to express our love to others? A commercially focused Christmas will want us to express Christmas love in the things we consume and buy. Love for the planet will generally not be included in this. Jesus in the crib has nothing except that he is loved and will bring love to our hearts. No one wants a mean, miserable Christmas, but a simpler Christmas, a gentler Christmas, a kinder Christmas on the planet, what would that be like?