Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent and about the only time many – ourselves included – may attend an evening service at church. The church service we go to is the Carol Service – no sermon! For us, the Christmas Carol service has always marked the start of Christmas. Traditionally, the service followed a set pattern and a particularly nice feature of it was that the lights were dimmed. The church has always looked lovely with the lighting dimmed and all the Christmas decorations illuminated by the coloured lights. This year we have a new minister and she decided that the service should be fully illuminated – so people can see the verse they are singing. Well, we always managed O.K. in the past – largely because most of the congregation knew the words to the carols anyway!
The service also had another novelty this year, during the prayers of intercession the minister sought the help of the Almighty to help we poor sinners from damaging the planet through climate change! Since last many of us set foot inside a church we will have sinned many times, in thought, in word and in deed, but we do not think that the Almighty reckons our personal emissions of CO2 as being one of them! When we questioned her about the inclusion of “climate change” after the service we got short shrift. Clearly for her the belief that human produced CO2 is damaging the planet should be tacked onto the end of the Nicene Creed!
For us the Carol service was also the chance to deliver the last of those Christmas cards to people you knew but whose address you didn’t. And that brings us onto the topic of the .GIF image above.
In the past, when running a business, the run up to Christmas was an excellent opportunity for a mail-shot – of sorts. Sending out Christmas cards not only to customers but to anybody who had enquired about our products and services was considered very important as whilst mail-shots are generally discarded, Christmas cards are not! No great message other than season’s greetings was attached but the company’s name was prominently displayed and was a chance to put the name in front of them. In those days, great attention was paid to ensuring that the cards were completely secular. No religious symbols at all. “Christmas” was not mentioned. “Seasons Greetings” were conveyed on the cover and on the inside. Pictures could include such as Santa Claus, reindeer and robins. The reason was intensely commercial. The idea was to reach the largest audience and one did not want the company identified with any religious group.
Now, our views have changed about the sending of Christmas cards. Whilst still emphatically of the belief that people are free to celebrate Christmas – or Yuletide as some do – in whatever [lawful] way they wish the insistence of removing all religious symbols so as to appeal to as broad a section of “the community” as possible is we believe ultimately damaging. The fact that whether one is a Christian or not, Christmas is a celebration on the birth of Christ. Thus it seems reasonable to suggest that greetings cards sent for this occasion should bear some acknowledgement of this. Of course, the politically correct will suggest that many people are not Christians. To which the answer should be, “So what ?”