Christmas Day falling on a Sunday is one of the best presents a parish priest can wish for – though usually sandwiched by the less easy experience of Christmas Day on a Saturday and a Monday. But not in 2012 – as this is a leap year, Christmas is on Tuesday. So for those of you planning ahead already, you’ve got something to look forward to.
And in the meantime, what about the rest of 2012? Well, yes, I am looking forward to the Olympics. But there’s a lot else that doesn’t look too good on the horizon. Just looking at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Christmas message reminded me of the nihilism and rage of the rioting last summer. As the Archbishop said, the answer to that sort of breakdown in society is to rebuild relationships. He emphasises relationships across the generations, but it could equally be across any of the barriers we build up so easily against the people we think are different.
So, guess how the Daily Mail reported the story? “Archbishop defends rioters”. Ah well.
On the other hand … The other good thing about Christmas Day being on a Sunday is that it gives us a chance to celebrate the Naming of Jesus (I didn’t emphasise the Circumcision, I must admit). I started to think about the fact that all Christians share in the name of Jesus – we are all baptised into it. Bearing that name means we can’t be any less welcoming than Jesus was. Ouch – but that’s exactly what Christians have to do, especially when times are tough and the instinct is to pull up the drawbridge. That’ll do for a New Year’s resolution.