It is soooo much more than a bag, I mean – Baby!

Each year amidst high tension and deepest secrecy the world waits in trepidation barely able to contain its excitement and in great anticipation of what the designers and creative minds will reveal – too soon and you’ll forget it, too late and it will be lost – for unto us will come, to us is given, the Christmas advert. I ought to have given you a check-list so you can tick them off as we go. They range this year from the: ‘we have everything you need’, to ‘your favourite things’ and from ‘bouncing on a bed in a scarf’ to ‘how to make an entrance at Christmas’. ‘From the this is how we baste it my dear’ – ‘school of Christmas’ to ‘winding up the children’, and ‘children winding up the parents’ come to think of it. From ‘everybody eats at my house’ to ‘light it up, dress it down, sing it, make it snow, drink and dance and sleep it off and do it all over again’ to ‘how to smile at some really naff presents’ or ‘what to buy to avoid the naff present face’. From, ‘honestly we really do make all these by hand because hand made presents are the best, as long as they are our hand made ones’… to ‘have a drink on us, but don’t forget to tell your friends’ (p.s. we invented Santa).
Don’t we just love a story to tug at the heart strings at Christmas – yes even the original Christmas story makes an appearance “Guys, it’s just a bag, I mean a baby, guy’s it’s just a bag”. But under the radar and slipped in ever so carefully are a few moments of truth alongside the retail opportunities of the season. Mog’s Christmas teamed up with Save the Children to encourage us to share the day with friends and neighbours who might have nothing this year – unbeknown to the creators a poignant tale for those whose homes have been devastated by flooding. The important things are those that we do for each other. And the moving tale of the janitor who works the night shift alone at a mannequin factory. Each night he amuses himself and sets up mannequin surprises for the day staff culminating in a great Christmas mannequin tree. And unbeknown to him whilst the factory syndicate wins the lottery, the day staff repay his kindness by making sure he also is one of the winners. Small acts of kindness and generosity.
I’m once again taken with the tale by those who, in conjunction with Age Concern this year, talk about making a connection this Christmas, not just with those who are near and dear to us, but reaching out to someone who may be alone lonely or forgotten. Reaching out to offer them the gift of knowing that when everyone else is celebrating, they too are remembered.
Somewhere, there is always an empty cradle at Christmas, something is missing. What do we choose to fill it with?
And so for me “It’s just a bag” becomes “It is just a baby.” Despite the stories of journeys, the tinsel crowns, the lights and action, extraordinary stories they may be, but, yes it is just a baby. An ordinary birth. Not an uncommon event, even at this time of year. But also, Really? Oh No, it is so much more than a bag, I mean baby. It is so much more than a baby.
And so what do we choose to fill our manger of need? With every gift? Do we fill the cradle with far more than what we need to try to make up for the emptiness? But simply to recognise, that yes there was a birth, is in itself a beginning, because those beginnings grow. And so we begin to usher in the birth of something so much greater. Something that words alone cannot do. In sharing our Christmas, in welcoming the stranger into our stable, in offering a helping hand to those who might need it we begin to see the Christ child, and then, the joy at Christmas begins to make some sense.