A month before Christmas Wokingham town comes together to change the mood. After the sombre remembrance of November 11th, and the spooky irreverence of Halloween, comes the ceremony to sing carols and switch on the Christmas lights. I always feel a special sense of happiness as the Market place defies the winter gloom with illumination, music and a sense of fun to come.
Elsewhere in the constituency people find the Christmas decorations in the garage or the loft, dress the trees and think of preparing for the Christmas meals. Our thoughts turn to families. Parents and grandparents delight in their young acting in Nativity plays or performing in the school choir. There is none so old that cannot still capture a little of the magic of their early Christmas times in the eyes of young children. We owe it to ourselves as well as to the children to sparkle a little for Christmas. Grown ups have to suspend their disbelief as well. We need to distil the magic, promote the dream, tell the old stories, and embellish our feast with something new.
For Christmas is a living tradition. To Christians it is pre eminently a celebration of the birth of Christ, a Saviour of mankind. For others it is a welcome break from the daily round, a glorious mixture of religious festival and mid winter feast, with great stories and the towering figure of Father Christmas. It is a time to think more of others, to recognise their importance to us with gifts, cards and messages, a time to say thank you for service offered, a time to include those who would otherwise be lonely. Wokingham this year has added a living advent calendar to its seasonal events. It is a time to sing Christmas songs and carols, a time to work hard at home for the family, a time to relax as well to enjoy the spirit of the days.
Christmas is a time for giving. So often as they say it is the thought that counts. The hand made present or the chosen gift need not be expensive. You do not have to buy the biggest box from the store to impress. Good present giving is not about you but about the person you are giving it to. Sometimes the best present of all is to give your time and care to those around you, and to help those nearby who otherwise would not have a great Christmas.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas, and a more prosperous New Year. I hope everyone in your family will find joy in your family Christmas.