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From the Vicarage
What makes your Christmas? That’s the opening statement in an advert on Classic FM which then goes on of course to suggest that everything that “makes our Christmas” can be bought from them. Indeed if what makes our Christmas is about food or drink or presents then of course they can be purchased, but perhaps the things that really “Make our Christmas” are the more intangible things for which there is no price.
How about the look on a child’s face when they see the Christmas lights for the first time, the sense of peace and goodwill as complete strangers wish each other the best? The acts of kindness to others especially those who are in need? The welcome and hospitality shown to those who would be otherwise on their own? The family gathered together, or the look on a loved ones face when they open an unexpected but well-chosen present?
Of course we could as well compile our list of things which “mar our Christmas”, those things which interfere with our enjoyment of it, the over-indulgencies, the selfishness’s, the sheer cost of trying to keep up with other’s expectations, the waste and the litter. 
However for me what makes a Christmas is the whole ebb and flow of it, the various services which take us through the leading up to Christmas and the “on the day” celebrations, the different groups who gather, each to mark it in their own way. So Christmas for me includes the Carol Services where the old favourites are aired once more, through the crib services with time to recall and act out the Nativity and then into the Christmas Eve Communions, more formal and traditional, before we start on Christmas morning with the celebrations for everyone, and then home for a family gathering with lots of laughter around a meal table.
Its busy, its lively, but its Christmas. A celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday. Have a happy one!
Alan Symonds