Talking Point – December 2022

Remembering what Christmas is about

‘CHRISTMAS COMES but once a year’ – yet it always seems to come around more quickly than expected, despite being the best-known date in the UK calendar!

So, no doubt as December arrives and moves towards our most-celebrated holiday (holy day), the Talking Point will be Christmas, despite many other worthy contenders for our attention. The turmoil in government, the continuing war in Ukraine, the sharp local rises and falls in diminishing Coronavirus cases, and the ever-present and darkening cloud of climate change that threatens the whole planet’s stability, will all be shelved as we try to prepare for Christmas. We will have less money in our pockets, we will need to be more creative, we may have to cut corners, and we will have our heating on low.

But it is good to be focused on this celebration, whatever the tumult in the world. Because, if we can look beyond the materialism and the familial expectations of Christmas, we can remember what it is all about: the simplest and yet most profound of stories. Over 2,000 years ago, our creator, God, took steps to save us from ourselves, and sent His only child into our world, to live a lifetime alongside us, and then to die in our places on the cross aged just 33.

There will be multiple opportunities in Churches and other venues to hear that simple message, to sing it in our carols, and to spread it in our cards. But may I commend to you a special and visceral telling of the Christmas story? It speaks to adults and children alike, and will bring you back to what it is all about, on Christmas Eve this year. At 16:00 on Saturday 24 December 2022, starting at Caversham Baptist Church, Nativity Live will begin with Mary and Joseph and a real donkey (or two). They will travel via the Clifton Arms, Westfield Park, South View Avenue, Ardler Road and then along Gosbrook Road to finish with a Nativity Tableau, and refreshments, in St Johns Church by 18:00. Along the route in the past (we have not staged the event since 2019), many Caversham residents, plus a variety of mostly appropriate animals, fall in with the procession and join in the carols, and it provides a most memorable reminder of the coming of the Christ-child.

Revd Andy Storch