In Chapel, I often comment to students that the foremost requirement of any spiritual practice is a radical, counter-cultural move. In a world of hurried days in which we fill our lives with activity and then willingly surrender to the instantaneous demands of social media. If we are to pray, to contemplate, to reflect on life’s deeper promise, it requires a decision in the other direction! There is a necessary stopping, a pause, need of a moment to ‘be’ which won’t come if we don’t undertake our own, personal, quiet ‘revolution’. This, I think, is the reason that a lot of people today either aren’t interested or don’t give time to things of the spirit, or faith … they are simply too ‘busy’.
At no time of the year is this more so than Christmas. Christmas is when the dictates of consumerism are ramped up; shopping, buying, stressing, the TV advertising bonanzas, ‘Black Fridays’ for extra spending, all peddling needs none of us knew we had! The spirit of Christmas in the telling of a child of God born and laid in a manger, an animal’s food trough is only reached in centred faith, if only for a moment.
I think that to celebrate Christmas fully we need to deliberately decide an action in the opposite direction to what society travels at this time of year; do something counter-cultural. Now is a good time to reflect: ’What can I do this Christmas that is truly giving? What is my one ‘gift’ for peace and love?
It is all too easily passed by in ‘must haves’ and ‘must dos.'
NOTE: Both the Uniting Church and the combined national Churches body make gift cards for a donation given somewhere in our world in in lieu of needless plastic and foods. Find them at: https://www.unitingworld.org.au/ and https://gifts.actforpeace.org.au
Rev Phil Hoffmann