When I was a lad it was about now we would begin thinking of Christmas: putting up paper streamers, with aromas of baking from the kitchen; buying socks for Dad, or bath salts for Mum.
Over the years it has become a huge commercial festival that closes down British industry for a fortnight. Whoever reaps its profits must live elsewhere.
Sadly, we’re told, too few children now realise these festivities spring from the heart of our religion and culture.
Thank Heaven, I say, for Nativity Plays! They were something I dreaded as a working journalist – with hundreds to include in our local papers, and passionate outrage over any forgotten.
There was a heart-warming gathering of we retired hacks at a local hostelry the other day. It was good to recall together past dramas and, over a few pints, catch up on present news.
A few days before that I was at a ruby wedding celebration in a friend’s house. His children
arranged it, as the couple themselves didn’t want much fuss. There was food, drinks, fun and festivity.
However, the high spot was the husband’s speech – recalling simpler times when two people, with little in common but mutual appeal, made the most of poorer times and set up home for a life together. How rich all their ensuing pleasures seemed to us listening.
I hope that as next week’s big day nears, something simple at the very heart of what we are all celebrating will bring you such wealth of feeling.
Perhaps that most English of poets, Sir John Betjeman, said it best in his popular
poem ‘Christmas’ – from which I now quote.
‘And is it true? And is it true, this most tremendous tale of all . . . The Maker of the stars and sea – Become a Child on earth for me?’
Glad tidings for all of us.
* For more, visit royedmonds-blackpool.com.