Tag Archives: Christmas

Reimagining Christmas

So a whole bunch of things that reimagine the story, and do their best to get me away from the question – “how can I fit this in?”

This one recasts the story as handheld horror; the darkest places lit up.


Then there is a terrific offering here in the same vein from Nativity Factor, this one called Donkey:


And then our own Paul McKeown with an homage to Dylan:

I like the playing piano from Chicago station, the music which comes in beside us, which plays the music we need to hear:

Then the West Jet Christmas give away:

And the Sainsbury’s advert – the best thing is the unexpected arrival:

The bear and the hair – companionship, and the anxiety of not knowing how the gift will be received, making sure that the forgotten ones don’t miss out.

Or the Boots advert from a few years back, the one who has the courage to give themselves:

And finally, becoming a classic – the Bethlehemian Rhapsody

Gospel According to Polar Express


This is remarkable the way we need the myth, need those points of contact with the Jesus story in them, and the way that the Santa myth has become the dominant Christmas myth, and the meeting with the Santa the sacred moment of Christmas.

I need to think what this says about the stories we need to tell ourselves, our innate human hungers and the importance of belief in something bigger than ourselves.  In telling stories like this for ourselves, are we reaching for that which we need and know to be beyond ourselves.

The Boy Is The Gift



The gift is the boy.


We miss the gift, the gift is a confusion to us, a source of irritation, something that that we don’t understand, something that vexes us, something that we rarely appreciate, and it is the boy.


I love the fact that he comes from Hamilton, attends Townhill Primary, and I also love the fact that in real life his name is Lewis.


One of the great gifts of this nativity play and the shows that are on at this time of year, is that a group of people who irritate you, who arouse in you great emotions of tiredness and irritation and fury are unveiled for us as the gifts that they are.


And the great message that we have at Christmas, is that the boy is the gift.


And we don’t spot it…


This is the gift, this child, this baby boy.


Sure there is a gift that the boy holds in his hands,

It might be a toaster, a DVD player, a hot water bottle, his and hers matching dressing gowns,

And they will be unwrapped, they will be appreciated,

But the gift, really is something that will stay with them longer than all these things


The gift is the boy.

What they see, these parents through blurred eyes, is the gift,

But what they see above all, what we have delighted in through this whole advert

With his funny expressions, his hope that that wizard magic would speed up time,

What we remember, what they spot in this moment

Is that the gift is the boy

People Sing Songs About Him

People sing songs about him at Christmas time.

Because our deepest emotions, our deepest truths about him

Are found in song


Mary sings, and Zechariah sings and Simeon sings and the angels sing.

They sing, because songs are the place where people are able to rejoice in the gift.

In amongst the busy-ness, the fury, the irritation, they are the place we spot the gift.


This the time of year I receive the most hymn requests,

The place where people are most passionate that their hymns is included,

Because in the hymn people want something

And I suggest it is that they need, want to, at some deep level

Spot the gift.

We Sing Songs

So in song we will sing to the people we love

“you to me are everything, the sweetest song that I could sing, Oh baby”

“All I want for Christmas is you”

“after all, you’re my wonderwall, baby, you’re gonna be the one that saves me.”

“you’re my bridge over troubled water”

“The skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clovers
The night I looked at you”

“You’re just too good to be true 

‘t take my eyes off you 
You’d be like heaven to touch 
I wanna hold you so much 
At long last love has arrived 
And I thank God I’m alive 
You’re just too good to be true 
Can’t take my eyes off you”


And we will sing to this baby

“God of god, light of light”

“Veiled in flesh the godhead see, hail the incarnate deity”

“Hail the heaven-born prince of peace, hail the sun of righteousness”

“King of all the world”

“beloved and fair, Christ the Redeemer is here, saviour since thou art born”

“The prince of glory was his name”

“the everlasting Light, and the hopes and fears of all the years”

“heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign”

“Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay, close by me forever and love me I pray”


The gift this Christmas is the boy.

We sing songs, because somehow song unwraps the gift for us.


He is the friend in every lonely circumstance

He is the wisdom in every confusion

He is the sacrifice to remove every guilt

He is the price to set us free from every tyranny

He is the brother who gives us a new family

The teacher who shines light that we can see

The power who helps us become the best hopes we have for ourselves

He is the prince who has defeated evil

The king who promises justice

The love that will not let us go

The God who alone is worthy of our best


And he is given to us


As the ancient prophet put it

And urges us to see

In our prayers, our allegiance, our intention, our love

Unto us a son is born

Unto us a child is given


This Christmas, we sing

And in our singing we spot the gift

The gift is the boy