Rotarian Christmas Talk

Wednesday night I gave a talk to the Abingdon Rotary Club. I was assigned the title ‘A Christmas Message’, so I was constrained not to bang on about fountain pens or deconstruction or how proud I am of Margaret and our children; instead, I talked about A Christmas Carol and , which articulate a Christmas message probably much more current in the world I inhabit than any observations I might have offered about [away with] mangers and magi and virgins.

I pointed out how reticent both works are about Christian faith, scarcely referring to Jesus at all, and acknowledging ‘church’ and ‘faith’ and even ‘God’ mostly just in conventional idioms (one exception, of course, being Tiny Tim’s famous prayer). These stories, both deeply embedded in contemporary holiday culture to the extent that for many they articulate the true spirit of Christmas, have little or nothing to say about… Jesus Christ.

Yet at the same time, both depend for a lot of the tension and energy of their plots on their occurring at Christmas. So we have the peculiar phenomenon of two deeply Christmas works, that are hardly at all Christian.

I went on from there, and indeed had noted some nuances and details that I’ve skipped past in the summary above. It went down very well, I think, even though I fear I surpassed the stipulated fifteen minute maximum duration….

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