Monday, 30 November 2009

Timing is all

The usual suspects are at it again! With impeccable evangelistic timing a couple of C of E bishops (who else?) announce to anyone out there who might still be listening that Christmas carols are largely nonsense, and that we really shouldn’t wish each other “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Christmas” (if you must!)  in case we upset those who have been affected by family tragedy or who are threatened by the impending catastrophe of climate change ( note: one has to have just the right amount and the right kind of PC puritan guilt to take the edge off any risk we may run of actually enjoying ourselves once in a while.) Thank you for that much needed sensitivity lesson, bishop!
But carols? Yes, many of them are very much “of their time” and none the worse for that, so are the great religious paintings of the middle ages – something to do with the implications of the Christmas story itself perhaps?
But I can understand the irritation in some quarters about Christmas carols. We are used to criticisms that they are not incarnational enough (too much sentimental perfection and glossing over the gritty realities), but I suspect the real underlying objection is exactly the opposite.
Apart from settings of Hardy’s the Oxen ( the only agnostic carol I’m aware of), most of them assume that all this 'The Word was made flesh' stuff is really true and that it matters to us today; it might be a little “in yer face” for the children of ’68 – particularly if they have a book to sell!


  1. Sorry, way off message, but I know you appreciate a laugh at the expense of those eminent clerics who hold high office in the Church in Wales. Have a look at the "Bag Vestments" blog; the Assistant-bishop of Llandaff has made his debut with his dog!!! Go to:

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  3. Thanks for that & for cheering up a cold winter's day! 'Bad Vestments' is a great site. That's where we've gone wrong: it's not about Him any more it's all about ME!

  4. Oops! That should have been "Bad Vestments"! However, when you view some of the examples from the USA I think that perhaps "Bag Vestments" wasn't too far from the truth!!!

  5. Being able to tick the right boxes and have an aptitude to be relevant to society today should have made +Croydon eligible to join ++Bazzer's merry band in Wales.
    England had Hope now Wales despairs but not only with with bad vestments.

  6. I agree Father; christmas, for all its excesses and widespread misunderstandings, is a time for hope and joy in the darkest time of year.

    How terrible that his book is given lots of free publicity, poor lamb!


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