Australians love a celebration. We’ve demonstrated that again and again. Give us an opportunity and we will be out there with the rest of them!
How we celebrate has, of course, been something of an issue. Take Anzac Day, for example. It is a national day for remembering and honouring the many Australians who served their country and the world in two World Wars, in Korea, Vietnam and other conflicts. Many paid the supreme sacrifice, dying in the quest for peace.
Around the country the community celebrations are attracting increasing numbers of people - young as well as old. Perhaps this is because world peace and security seem rather more elusive than we had imagined. And since Anzac Day this year have come the Bali bombings on October 12 - the threat has come to our very doorstep.
But the issue has surrounded what sort of celebrations and activities are appropriate for Anzac Day. The RSL would like it to be a solemn day with all pubs and places of amusement closed. The conduct of major sporting events has been a matter of public controversy.
And now Christmas is almost upon us. Everyone wants to celebrate Christmas. Well... we’ll celebrate as hard as we can, but is it possible to miss the point of Christmas?
At one of the community carol nights last year I was stunned - as were many others - when the announcer described the "number-one-top-favourite- children’s-Christmas-carol" as "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer"! Since when did Rudolph displace the Baby who was born in a manger? Since when did Santa Claus outdo the one who came to be "your Saviour, Christ the Lord"?
Don’t get me wrong! The Lord is a fun-loving God! Christmas shouldn’t be a sombre occasion! But haven’t we missed the point altogether when we take Christ out of Christmas? The "glad tidings of great joy" are the very reason for our celebration.
It’s Christmas time again, and I wish you a warm and hearty "Happy Christmas!" Let’s keep in mind the point of it all!
© Peter J. Blackburn 2002