Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Who killed Christmas?

I’ve just got hold of Faith In Action’s Christmas leaflet, albeit via wealthy friends.
It’s basically a note with times for all the Ramsey Xmas church services, padded with stuff about loving your neighbour and making a difference in the community – which is quite ironic when you think about it.
The thing is, the Ramsey churches used to combine to put the predecessor to this through all doors. But this year they’ve only leafletted upmarket homes. How odd - or perhaps just revealing!
The disastrous interplay between churches, local government and business is all too evident in Ramsey, and getting worse as recession bites. I expect nothing else in a small town than for the seediest elements to combine.
Masons, Buffs, Rotarians, evangelicals…whatever. Private deals in chapel or lodge turned into public policy after nominal discussion in the council chamber. It’s always been the way in small towns throughout the British Isles, and probably far beyond. Secret scufflings of superstitious village idiots holding the world back. Ho hum.
But I didn’t realise quite how bad it was here until present-hunting with my small daughter in the main street yesterday. No secret that Ramsey commerce is all but dead, though not because of Tesco or online retailing.
The problem is revealed in the way the empty shop windows are decorated in a vain attempt to hide the decay. Some bright spark handed them over to the evangelical lunatic fringe, who mounted rival nativity scenes/advertising for their Xmas antics. Even in the half-alive shops there are adverts for obscenities like Christmas on the Hill at St. John’s instead of posters for community events. Rather than a friendly, small town celebration of humanity at a traditional time of good cheer, the effect is closer to Kristalnacht.
You see what happened? In their rush to claim a tradition drawn from many streams for Christofascism, the deluded herd have achieved what neither the Puritans nor the Taliban could.
They’ve killed Christmas.

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