For the past thirteen years our family has made pilgrimage to the Myer Christmas windows, each year bringing a different nuance to the event. The first year was entirely about our parenting joy, as our first child was only six months old. It seemed to mark some rite of passage as we were finally able to join the families celebrating the event. As time passed and our family grew (both in number and years), the event took on a new meaning. We experienced the joy and wonder of our children, as they drank in the sights and sounds, and relished their magic. Our excitement flowed from their excitement, which continued for days in reflections on and pronouncements about their favourite parts.
In recent years our children have entered the world of critique as they evaluate the windows for the message that they offer and the way in which it is presented. They manage to hold both joy and wonder at the presentation at the same time as they drink in the message and formulate their own response.
This year’s windows present The Santa Kid, the story of Exmass Express, a corporation which buys out the North Pole and seeks to commercialise the process, alienating Santa Claus in the process. But for the efforts of children, who truly understand that the magic of Christmas is “in believing”, Christmas would have been lost. It, along with the traditional nativity window, provoked some interesting discussion about Christmas as we made our way home, focussed on what Christmas was really about and whether the story of the windows helped to make that clearer.
The Christmas season brings a great deal of joy to many people, as it serves to rekindle hope and wonder and remind of love shared and lost. In reflecting on the birth of the Christ-child so many years ago, we are reminded of a God who entered our world, vulnerable as a baby – a reminder that we are not alone in the struggles to keep hope alive and to nurture peace and goodwill. That God is near to us every day is the abiding message of Christmas – for the whole year.
To celebrate Christmas is akin to throwing another log on the fire. Its aim is to keep the fires burning, to remind us that the pathway of love, compassion and peace is eternal. As we remember the Christmas story, let us also be reminded of the need to maintain our belief in the values which Christmas embodies, and in the One who embodies it. May your Christmas be truly blessed - and a blessing.
December 18, 2005