feel the magic

A little more from my "New Zealand is the most secular English-speaking country of all, even if I receive disbelieving looks from American, Canadian, British and Australian friends whenever I say so" file.

This week I was in Sydney and a friend of mine expressed how he has regular opportunities in local civic contexts to open council meetings in prayer. I almost fell off my chair from the shock of such a thought.

I returned to Palmerston North (in New Zealand) only to find this Christmas card on the dining room table.

It has origins in a local shopping mall. I investigated the website a little bit further - and found these words:
See the magic; love the magic; FEEL THE MAGIC...
Your Winter Wonderland is real and it's here.
Have fun with the penguins and play with the reindeer;
Come and see for yourself and all will be clear...
Step into your own Winter Wonderland this Christmas...;
your amazing augmented reality experience is here and it's FREE!!
Four different playtime scenarios have been created for you,
featuring penguins, reindeer, a snowman, and a yeti.
This is so wrong at so many levels.

It is about knowing a mystery, not feeling a magic.
Christmas is about the Creator becoming a creature, about God becoming a baby. But it doesn't stop there. God was only born so that he could die, dying our death so that we could live his life. This is something to know on the way to being something to feel.

It is about summer, not winter.
Christmas is a summer season in New Zealand. To hold onto winter imagery serves only to make the true celebrations seem more distant, more irrelevant, and more remote.

It is about the really real, not the fakey real.
Christmas is an historical reality. They are events which can be trusted and on which life can be rested. To describe it in the manner of this card leaves the season at the gates of Disneyland.

It is about the truly free, not the 'amazing augmented reality experience' that is free.
Christmas continues a story of liberation - and not just for Mary and Zechariah (although their liberation is so beautifully expressed in Luke 1). Stay with the story to the end and having some 'augmented reality experience' is so far from what happens to you.

It is about worship, not play.
Christmas, from every angle and through every perspective, is about worship. The angels spark it, the shepherds start it ... and people across every time and timezone have been worshipping ever since.

It is about shepherds, angels, parents and a baby, not yetis, penguins, reindeer and a snowman.
Christmas is about people, people, and more people. Why must all these animals intrude into the story and eclipse what God is doing for humans by becoming a human?

It is about a Star Maker, not just a star.
As this little childrens' book expresses it, 'Jesus the Star Maker became a little baby. And the Star Maker lay underneath the star that he had made'. Ah yes, there is the mystery...

nice chatting


PS: my records show that this is my 500th post - just as my 10th year as a blogger draws to a close. To mark the occasion, I've changed the list of 'Popular Posts' (down the right hand side of this page) from being the latest monthly list to being the 'all time' list. Thanks for reading.


Ben Carswell said…
Great post & congrats on the 500...you must be the first Kiwi to get be the QuinCentury ;) Now, you just need to get the most blog posts in a calendar year!
Matt Barker said…
Interesting observation about the fakery of Christmas. I wonder if all the warmer countries have taken time to consider this. So much about the northern hemisphere doesn't make sense in our context.
Paul Windsor said…
Thanks, Ben - together with all the allusions! Here is a little reminder of a blog a few years back before certain sportspeople were even close to being household names: http://paulwindsor.blogspot.co.nz/2012/07/lydia-steve-jacko-kane.html

Have a good summer break

Paul Windsor said…
Yes, Matt. Bottom line?! We want the reality of what Christmas means to shine through - but as long as we keep alive wintry/northern imagery, we are going to be very slow 'out of the blocks' with the reality issue in this NZ context. The packaging appears so strange and so maybe the gift will appear so as well? It is more likely to be seen as some fictional story from a strange land unless it is wrapped in indigenous stuff...
Mia Gomez said…
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