X Factor, I’m A Celebrity, Strictly Come Dancing… all the big reality TV competitions end during the Christmas season. Who is the best amateur dancer who acts in a soap? Who is the best Z-lister at eating kangaroo testicles sautéed in camel urine? Who is the nation’s favourite wannabe pop star as chosen by a deified panel of moderate talent?
All this is added to the big question of who will win the TV ratings; pain and misery in the East End of London, posh woman falling over, 2000 year old shapeshifter or postwar birth pains?
Christmas has become trying to be the biggest and best in unimportant mediocrity. Our focus is shifted towards that which doesn’t matter in a way which makes it seem like the most important thing ever.
Christmas, though is about the total opposite. It’s about the most important, powerful being making himself normal, everyday thing imaginable. God became our servant as an example to all of us, to show that this constant rush to make ourselves the greatest and most important is not the way to be.
We lose sight of the joy of giving when we concentrate on the task of taking. We lose sight of the joy of others when we concentrate on the cult of self. But, when we look to Jesus, we see everything we were meant to be in all its fullness.
That’s what Christmas is about, what life is about. It’s about the last being first, the least being the greatest, becoming a servant of others because self-adoration is empty. And the baby whose birth we celebrate is the one who still shows us that today.