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Copyright Oggbashan November 2006
The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
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The following are fifty-word essays with random thoughts on a Christmas theme. The title isn't counted.
1. Peace at Christmas
At Christmas we speak of peace on earth, goodwill to men.
There is normally more goodwill than at other times of the year for our friends, our neighbours and those we meet in the street.
Why can't we express goodwill all year round?
Is it completely impossible – or just difficult?
Christmas is mainly for families and friends.
For those without either it can be the cruellest time of year, reminding them of what they have lost, or never had.
It is a peak time for reactive depression and suicide attempts.
Spare a thought for those who are alone this Christmas.
3. No room
There was no room at the inn for Joseph and Mary. They were offered and accepted the stable.
Can you imagine that today? If the hotel were full, would they offer you any space or send you out into the night?
We lose sight of compassion in the modern world.
The shepherds were afraid of the angels and the heavenly host.
Why not? Would'nt you be afraid if they were revealed to you – now?
They believed the message and went to worship the heavenly child.
Could you have such certain faith? Would you believe even if the heavenly host appeared?
5. Wise Men
The wise men came from the East. That East was our war-ravaged and divided Middle East.
Can you imagine that there are any wise men in today's Middle East?
There are, but their wisdom is hidden behind messages of hatred and intolerance.
We need to listen when wise men speak.
It is said that Christmas is for children.
If so, we are missing an opportunity to share the Christmas message with adults who may well need the message more.
Christmas should be for all, not just for Christians.
Christianity's duty is to give the Christmas message to the whole world.
7. St Nicholas
Santa Claus is derived from St Nicholas who is said to have provided dowries for poor girls who could not be married without one.
Now he brings the ultimate collection of consumer goods for children and adults, a bonanza for retailers – and debt.
I don't think St Nicholas would approve.
8. Christian Export
The one Christian custom that has spread almost all over the world is that of celebrating Christmas.
Yet what has been transferred to other faiths and beliefs?
The giving of expensive presents and the commercial exploitation of Christmas as a time to spend, spend, spend.
Is that the Christmas message?
9. Christmas 1914
For a few brief hours on Christmas Day 1914 soldiers in opposing trenches on the Western Front sung carols to each other, met in No Man's Land, exchanged presents and met as friends.
The authorities hushed it up. They couldn't afford to admit that the troops' enemies were decent men.
10. Massacre of the Innocents
Herod was afraid that the infant Jesus would take the throne so he ordered the killing of all young children.
Herod's fear was unjustified. The children were just as dead.
Unreasonable fear kills people today. Iraqi kills Iraqi. The people of Sudan kill each other.
When will we ever learn?
Each Christmas brings hope that humanity will learn from its mistakes.
Each Christmas season of joy is followed by realisation that man's inhumanity to man still continues.
When will the Christmas message begin to change the world?
When every man and woman thinks that peace on earth is really possible.
12. Labour of Love
Making a family Christmas special is hard work that needs planning and effort.
The Christmas feast, even with modern labour-saving appliances, is still hours of work.
Choosing, buying, wrapping and giving presents takes time.
When we were young, we did not understand the strain of Christmas.
Every minute expresses love.
13. Good Samaritan
The Good Samaritan of Jesus' time was from a hated enemy nation.
Who would be the equivalent today?
A Palestinian Arab helping an Israeli? A Sunni Iraqi helping a Shia? A Janjaweed helping peace in Darfur?
Helping another, even those from a hated group, is not just a Christian ideal.
Christmas has no meaning unless it is about the birth of Jesus Christ.
If Christ is not part of the festival, why call it Christmas?
Giving and receiving presents may be enjoyable but the celebration of Christ's birth should be at the centre of the event.
Christmas needs Jesus Christ.
15. Three gifts
The Wise Men brought Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.
Each gift had meaning for the life of Jesus Christ. The Wise Men knew that his life would end on The Cross.
While we celebrate the joy of Christmas, the larger message of salvation dearly bought at Easter is not far away.