Dominus illuminatio mea, indeed ...
I also had a short, minute-long, video message emailed from my old college - 'Christmas Greetings' - and some beautifully atmospheric music and photography- a vast improvement on the above.
It's unlisted on YouTube so here is the link - enjoy it, even if it is still Advent!
Tim Stanley at The Telegraph has some sane words about the contemporary celebration of Christmas, particularly good for those of us who are liable to become depressed both at the naked commercialism of the season and everyone jumping the gun to celebrate it:
"Western Europe isn't Christian anymore in the sense that we Bible bashers freaking own this place. Nope. It's Christian in history, secular in spirit, disengaged in practice. So I don't expect everyone to get a theological thrill out of this season and I don't think there should be mandated Mass attendance or forced conscription into nativity plays. But it would be nice if everyone approached Christmas with greater curiosity about what it stands for.
... And it's this. Most of the other deities who walked the Earth came as kings or warriors. But Jesus came as a little baby. Soft, pink, vulnerable. This was how God chose to reveal himself to the world, as one of us during a moment that is universal to all our lives. We are all born, we all die – and this Messiah was born with the express purpose of dying. The extraodinary thing about the holy infant is that we are looking at a child that is here for the express purpose of suffering. Not because God is a sadist but because God loves us so much that he would send his son to suffer and die alongside us and on our behalf. When you think of how much right God has to be angry with us, or how he could so easily let us rot, the story is all the more remarkable. It's tangible, historical proof that there is an Almighty and he cares. Friend, you and I are not alone...........
....But folks get it wrong when they imagine that a religious experience is something that can be induced just by turning up and being there. Maybe if you sit long enough in the pews, they think, God will speak to you and the scales will fall from your eyes.In reality, faith takes a long time to build – it seeps into your personality and, someday, it feels as natural as breathing air. The way to get to that point is to open your heart to religion, to contemplate its wonder. Christmas is a perfect opportunity to do just that ..."
Read it all here
And, not to be left out, there's this to cheer us up in the rather frantic days ahead before Christmas actually begins (one has to keep trying) - although perhaps I should apologise for posting it as it is becoming as ubiquitous as that secular myth, Santa himself.