HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By MP John Hayes
Given the stresses and distractions of this time of year, it is all too easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.
The yearly rigmarole of shopping for presents and planning for festivities can sometimes make the blessing of indulging the senses of others seem like a chore. Yet, once the shops finally close their doors and families gather together again to celebrate, we should all ask the question posed by Dr Suess in his children’s classic ‘The Grinch that Stole Christmas’: ‘What if Christmas doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?’
Christmas is a time to recall what the great poet John Betjeman called ‘the most tremendous tale of all… The maker of the stars and sea/Become a child on earth for me.’ For, as Betjeman writes in his poem ‘Christmas’, no material gift, however kindly meant, can compare with the miracle of the Christmas story.
That Christmas is a time of giving is a reminder to us all that the ultimate sacrifice was made for each of us. For those in politics, Christmas is an occasion for humility; a time to remember that there are some things much greater than anything that can be achieved through government or law.
Thousands of kind acts, expressed in the sacrifice of time and means – whether it be through charities and churches or the dedication of those like hospital staff who keep us well or the police that keep us safe – reflect the truth of the first Christmas.
That a child was born to save us from our sins should make us open our hearts to those around us. For, as Betjeman writes, we all can celebrate the single truth ‘That God was man in Palestine/And lives today in bread and wine.’