Happy Christmas – 25 December 2014
Andrew Burdett wishes all readers a very happy Christmas.
Christmas is a time of family and tradition, and a celebration that I have always loved to participate fully in. However, in amongst it all, I always like to take time to remember those for whom things are less comfortable.
It is not uncommon, at such moments, to think of children in far-flung lands: images of starving youngsters at struggling, under-resourced refugee centres are not difficult to conjure. So often, Christmas shopping trips are interrupted by ‘chuggers‘, who prey on this season’s emphasis on generosity in order to raise money for all manner of ‘good causes’. In weekend newspapers, for every leaflet advertising the Harvey Nichols festive range there are at least three from charities requesting one’s involvement in their latest fundraising drives.
And we mustn’t forget those neighbours of ours – fellow residents of our own towns and cities – who are dependent on emergency food handouts and overnight shelter.
To be honest, I have no real problem with the secularisation and capitalisation of our ancient religious festival, so long as it is allowed to continue being called ‘Christmas’. (After all, it did start with Christ.) But let me just take a moment to remember those who are ‘less-fortunate-than-ourselves’ in a different sense. Within the grand scheme of things, perhaps their ‘plights’ are incomparable to the daily burden of life shouldered by the sick, hungry, and helpless, in foreign, largely unsupportive societies. But for those facing Christmas this year, for the first time, with their usual traditions shattered by the unfortunate absence of family members, I feel that they too deserve thoughts and prayers.
This year specifically, I am thinking of the family (and especially the children of) of a 47-year-old cancer victim from Maidenhead; the loved ones of the six people killed by Monday’s dustcart crash in Glasgow, and, perhaps less obviously, the driver of that lorry.
And meanwhile, may you and your loved ones enjoy a safe and peaceful Christmastide.