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God with us, the message of Christmas. God not always able to change things but with us in the pain and joy of life: man becoming God in a gruesome death and born as God both thirty-three years earlier and before all time, this can only be told as a real-life story. A story with me since I was a toddler just after the war, looking across a village square at a Church mentioned in the Domesday Book, from a bedroom with a scroll of The Lord’s Prayer on its wall alongside later a picture of Nat Lofthouse, the Lion of Vienna from Bolton. This was not the sacred and the profane, for all that has happened is sacred.
And now in post-modern Britain, Christmas cards with a religious message are said to give offence. The Lord’s Prayer is seen as divisive and thus also offensive. I suspect that in the country as a whole far more offence is given by not honouring this heritage. Certainly I can’t stop taking umbrage each time an absurdity like this is mouthed in terms that would have been considered shallow at my school debating society.
I read Physics as my first degree. I have run businesses. I have a family. I am the last of my childhood family still alive. I have studied Philosophy. I have written a novel. I have lived seventy years with the sadness and joy of life, in city, town and country, north and south. The message of Christmas is no mediaeval superstition. It is deeply philosophical and spiritual with a finite view of creation more reasonable than any infinite theory, but one which gives hope that life is not futile and that death may not be the end. The Lord’s Prayer is exemplary in describing how life should be lived.
Maybe Christianity shouldn’t be a state religion, believing as it does that faith is a matter of personal choice. But to try to marginalise it within Britain is to commit cultural philistinism on an epic scale.