Every Christmas and Easter, one of my duties as State Leader for Tasmanian Baptists is to write a short reflection for the Mercury Newspaper.
There is much to like about Christmas —the office parties and gift giving; the decorations and carol singing; the good cheer and even the family gatherings if we are fortunate enough.
Some people today would be surprised to know that most of this comes from our Judeo-Christian past. Even though many have moved away from church and belief, and there are increasing numbers of people calling themselves non-religious, Christmas remains a deeply religious season. It seems that while our minds can’t make sense of it rationally, and we would be quick to deny it, there are times when we experience something resembling faith. It may not be belief, so much, but something deep and profound. Maybe there is something spiritual about Christmas after all?
Last month the great Australian, Clive James, died. He was no Christian, yet honest enough to lay credit where credit is due. In a 2008 Advent essay titled, Lest we forget, Jesus the man, James considered how our community “should cherish any of the Christian remnants” of Christmas. He pondered: “I doubt if he [Jesus] can redeem me. I wish he could. But I do have faith that he lives on, as an ideal. All the Christian religions are lucky to have him, and those of us who have ceased to be Christians in the old way are lucky to have him too.”
Jesus, it is said, is the reason for the season and Clive James understood it. Perhaps it is worth pondering this Christmas.