*** DEBUG END ***

Certainly not little

18 December 2015

WE HAVE nothing against Judy Garland, but her 1944 song “Have yourself a merry little Christmas”, written by Hugh Martin, encapsulates in its first line all that is wrong with the modern Christmas. For a start, of course, Christmas is not “little” to anyone with the slightest grasp of the incarnation. Yes, at that moment God was baby-sized, but his birth was world-changing. Our main objection, though, is to the idea that Christmas is something that you can have yourself. This is not to deny that many people can enjoy the festivities on their own; but, as at other times of the year, it is selflessness that redeems us, and opens us up to God’s generous indwelling. Wishing someone else to “have yourself” a merry Christmas misses the mutual care that the Holy Spirit desires of us.

The second line of the song (later changed to “let your heart be light”) was originally “it may be your last”. This idea certainly seems to drive the shopping frenzy in the long run-up to the festival. Everyone likes presents, but the giving and receiving of them must not distract us from the urgent care needed by those for whom those words might well be true. Christmas is not little when it prompts people to support those many charities that show God’s love in action. May it be so.

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.


Train-a-Priest Fund 2022 Appeal

Please consider a donation to TAP Africa this year. Every penny you can give goes to ordinands in Africa who face financial difficulty, to support them as they complete their training. 

Donate online

Read more about this year's appeal

Forthcoming Events

2 July 2022
Bringing Down the Mighty: Church, Theology and Structural Injustice
With Anthony Reddie, Azariah France-Williams, Mariama Ifode-Blease, Luke Larner, Will Moore, Stewart Rapley and Victoria Turner.

4-8 July 2022
HeartEdge Mission Summer School
From HeartEdge and St Augustine’s College of Theology.

More events

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four* articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)

*Until the end of June: we’re doubling the number of free articles to eight, to celebrate the publication of our Platinum Jubilee double issue.