by Brian E. Pearson
When I left St. Simon’s Church in Oakville they called me the Priest Who Hated Christmas Trees.
A word in my defence. I didn’t actually hate them. I just thought they had their proper place … during the actual season of Christmas, and not Advent, which is not yet Christmas. I’ve since relented. Now, like the rest of the world, I buy my tree in October. I just needed to get that off my chest.
But I used to feel the same about Christmas lights. Not only did some people hang them on their houses on All Saints Day. Many of those same people burned them brightly–blinking off and on in the annoying way some lights do–right through to Eastertide. I would shake my head. “What these people don’t know about the church year” .
Now, just like those Christmas trees, I’m not sure anymore that “those people” weren’t right all along.
Every Saturday I get the Globe and Mail delivered to my door, even here where I live in Calgary. One neighbour once called it “that socialist rag” which shows you just how far we’ve come, out here. I get the headlines every day on my iPhone, just to keep up. But on Saturdays I pour myself another cup of coffee, to steel myself, and I sit down for a deep dive.
Some weekends I never come up again. The news is so alarmingly bad, you just feel you’re watching a stupendous multi-car pile-up in slow motion. Current regional politics is only the first car in a long line, all waiting to get smooshed. I try turning away. But I get caught instead by the awfulness of it, as if the headlights were coming next for me.
So maybe we have to hang on to good news, wherever we find it. Maybe the Good News we preach at Christmas–that God is in our midst in spite of everything–deserves a longer run. In fact, maybe it should never end, not until we’ve heard it in our hearts and seen it in our world.
Maybe Christmas lights should remain throughout the whole year, with their little blinking reflections of hope. And okay, Christmas trees too.
Brian Pearson is a retired Anglican priest (formerly from Niagara) …. he continues to fill his days as a writer, musician, and public speaker. His reflections have emerged from his upcoming memoirs. You can access his daily blog, and experience more of his offerings at brianepearson.ca