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19 December 2010

Christmas

Whilst taking the opportunity to wish my half dozen readers a very happy Christmas, I'm also minded to pose the question, what's it all about?

Silly question? Well it seems to be different things to different people. To some it's clearly a celebration of the "virgin birth" of Jesus Christ and it sits at the heart of the meaning of Christianity. To others it's an excuse for eating and drinking more than it's good for them.

For both groups there are, of course, the exchange of gifts.

Yesterday I was reading about Tony Jordan, the award-winning script writer, who was commissioned to write the story of the Nativity, to be shown on BBC television in four half-hour episodes leading up to Christmas. It was of particular interest because Tony Jordan is known for having written 200 scripts for the popular Soap, Eastenders, and other well-known TV series.

It was even more interesting to learn that when he started the task of dramatising the Nativity he was a non-believer in the whole story, but by the time he finished his extensive research, using the Bible, miscellaneous history books, talking to theologians, and even talking to NASA about the "star over Bethlehem", he became a believer.

On a personal note, I was struck by his thoughts about religion, which coincide exactly with mine. In his interview with a Daily Telegraph journalist he said this (and I'm taking this as my quotation of the year!) ..

"I have a distaste for organised religions, because they tamper with stories, add a bit here, take a bit off there, and then start killing each other because the other one doesn't agree. The only thing I know for sure is that the words I read as coming from Jesus Christ are the most truthful things I have ever heard. As a blueprint for mankind, it is so smart that it couldn't even have come from a clever philosopher. Who would have been smart enough to say 'He who is without sin cast the first stone'? That's pretty cool. I have a distaste for people who say to me if you come through these church doors, walk down this aisle, sit on that wooden bench, and sing these hymns in this order, I have got God in a little bottle under my pulpit and I'll let you have a look. I don't think that was God's intention".

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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