Insight

Welcome to the blog of Commissioner Clive Adams. Leader of The Salvation Army United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland
 
 

Christmas confused…

17 December 2013 - 3:49pm
| by Clive Adams
|

We are well into what I not-so-affectionately call the “Frantic Fortnight”. It is the period when we realise that the “plenty of time” we thought we had has been eroded by a combination of procrastination and indecision to just a few short days left. Peace and goodwill seem in short supply as we react to shopping queues, traffic queues, noisy children, nosey neighbours – in short… everything!

Impatient parents and bawling children seem to fill the shopping centres. The threats that one hears from some parents as they move dangerously beyond the end of their tether would not be out of place after the 9 o’clock watershed!

Some twenty years or so ago, I was sitting patiently on a strategically placed bench entertaining myself by observing people – as is my want when waiting for my wife in a shopping centre. It was during Frantic Fortnight, and there was a hustling and a bustling which would have made a Justin Bieber concert look as peaceful as teatime on the fifth day of an Ashes test in the current series Down Under by comparison! The confusion, churlishness, cantankerousness and chaos I saw prompted me to write the following lament. I believe it is as pertinent today as the day I wrote it – except that battery-operated train sets may have given way to tablets, iPods, mobile phones, iPads and/or computer games:

All the malls are crowded; filled with angry shoppers;
Tired and impatient, with their teeny boppers!

"Mommy, buy me that toy - Robert's mom has bought it!"
"Q-U-I-E-T! Or I'll smack you... then you can report it!"
Trolleys heavy-laden, filled to overflowing...
All these Christmas extras... where is it all going?

Mom has slaved for hours, cooking Christmas dinner;
If you leave a green pea, you feel quite a sinner!

Turkey, roast potato, cranberry and stuffing –
There's so much food to eat up, Dad's already puffing!
Then there's Christmas pudding - custard by the ladle...
What has this to do with Jesus in a cradle?

Wrapped up presents lying, neatly round the tree;
Christmas stockings bulging - "What's in it for me?"

Children list their preference; parents obligated...
Cars and dolls and train sets - battery-operated!
Have you seen the prices - it is daylight thieving...
Shopping! Eating! Presents! What must I believe in?

I know what this must seem like - it is so confusing,
And I want to guide you as you do your choosing.

Christmas makes us happy - all the decorations;
Family-get-togethers, joyous celebrations...
None of it would mean much, 'cept as strange behaviour –
'Cos Christmas isn't Christmas, when there is no Saviour!

Have fun! Enjoy the celebration! But seek to spend some time considering the substance, rather than just the sentiment, this Christmas, too!

Nollaig Shona Daoibh!
Nadolig Hapus!

Nollaig chridheil huibh!
Happy Christmas!

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