When I am doing the weekly food shop, the commercial over-kill of Christmas is only too apparent. The supermarket shelves are groaning with "seasonal" goodies, most of which have either too much sugar or too much fat in them. Not to mention the booze, which of course I have forsworn this year, and which is on offer on every aisle-end.
So it was a particularly welcome gift this morning, to spot a toddler in a pushchair, gazing up at the Christmas decorations that festooned the supermarket ceiling, with a rapt expression of wonder on his face. I pointed this out to his Mum, and it made her day too. Of course, to him, it is all new and wonderful and wonder-full. I was so grateful for the reminder of what Christmas really is about - not the food and the drink and the presents, but the joy and the sharing and the sense of wonder at the birth of a child. And I share a reflection which I wrote some years ago, for times such as these:
Let us take a moment to appreciate all the good things in our lives; our comfortable homes our many possessions, which make our lives easy and secure.
But more importantly, the blessings that money cannot buy:
the love of families;
the companionship of our friends;
this beloved community of freedom and trust;
the beauties of nature;
our bodies - those complex systems that work in such mysterious ways;
the very air that we breathe.
Help us to realise how rich we are already, and help us to ask the question "do I need this?" rather than "do I want this?" in relation to everything.
Help us to realise that true happiness lies in wanting what you have. And in a sense of wonder.