Advent conspiracy 8: treacle tins and transcendance…

Another post from artist Steve, whose eye for beauty in the ordinary is remarkable.

Christmas is that magical time of mystery, wonder, miracles and angels.

But lots of us have become ‘selective’ as to what spiritual significance it may all have.

For many, Christmas has become a focus for family gatherings, food+drink, giving+receiving presents, trees+decorations, music playlists, opening doors on Advent calendars, Christmas cards, yearning for snow (but only the kind that makes everything white for just two days and disappears by Boxing Day), family walks, bubble+squeak on Boxing Day, party games and fun+laughter. It might even include midnight mass – but perhaps only as part of a family tradition.

Does God feature at all?
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently published figures for 2021 indicating that, for the first time, less than 50% of people in England+Wales identify themselves as Christians (46.2%, compared with 59.3% in 2011… with 37.2% as of ‘no religion’, compared with 25.2% ten years ago).

What do I believe anymore?
Next year, I will have been a Christian for fifty years. At times, it’s been a bumpy journey but, despite my doubts, there remains something that continues to hold me.

Confused+stumbling, stubborn+steadfast… waiting+wondering.

This sketch is of one of our bookshelves at home. As you can see, the image includes three ‘Golden Syrup’ tins. In fact, there are a total of TEN of them on this shelf(!) – including one with holly leaves and the phrase ‘Bake, Eat and Be Merry’ and another which contains fourteen palm crosses. As you can imagine, both the tins and the palm crosses have been accrued over several years.

They’re a reminder of the passing of time.

And for those of us in our dotage perhaps (as Bob Mortimer frequently asked Paul Whitehouse in their ‘Gone Christmas Fishing’ television programmes): “So, how many Christmases have we got left then Paul?”

The continuity and the appreciation of experiences gathered over the years (not just consuming golden syrup!).

The highs and lows of our spiritual journeys and the sense of God somehow always being there along the way.

And, of course, the journey continues…

All those possibilities (and uncertainties)… the extraordinary within the ordinary.

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