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What colour is Christmas? (December 2017)

Dear Friends,

I wonder, what colour Christmas is in your mind?

While the shops and public spaces fill up with glitter, gold, silver, snowy white, green and red along with jingle bells and ‘I wish it could be Christmas everyday’ dancing in the ears of busy shoppers … I wonder what colour comes to mind when I ask you about Christmas?

There is a growing number of churches who hold ‘Blue Christmas’ services these days, recognising that for many people it is a time of sadness and painful memories.

I’ve been thinking about the challenge of making this a ‘green’ Christmas – or at least a ‘greener’ Christmas. By ‘green’ I mean ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘caring for the earth’, ‘taking our responsibility for the care of creation’ right to the heart and soul of the season when, in the birth of Jesus, we celebrate the creative God who, born among us, proclaims abundant love for the earth and all the people and creatures that inhabit it.

So, what can you or I do to make this a ‘green’ or ‘greener’ Christmas?

Recently people have started to realize how much plastic pollution fills the seas. There is much that we can see – and we have seen pictures of vast lakes of plastic debris, miles wide, floating way out in the seas and sea birds tangled in plastic packaging that has been thrown away. Fish, turtles and sea mammals like seals sea plastic bags floating in the water, from the rubbish we throw away, and think they are jelly fish or other food that they depend on, and eat them. And then there are the tiny fibres and microbeads of plastic that we cannot see that have been found inside the bodies of sea creatures, even those that live in the deepest part of the sea. Contaminated with plastic they are damaged in themselves AND part of the food chain that leads to other creatures and eventually to us.

Here’s the challenge – could you and I change this situation by choosing to use significantly less plastic? And could this Christmas be a place to start?

Think about it – what would a 50% reduction in the amount of plastic you use and throw away look like this Christmas? Or for the adventurous – what about a ‘plastic free’ Christmas?

And then, of course, another ‘green’ issue in the news recently is the amount of food that is wasted every day. This matters on many counts.

First, that there are people in our own communities who are struggling to afford enough food for their families and have to seek help at Food Banks.

Equally important, the food thrown away is simply a waste of the earth’s precious, generously provided, resources. And, food disposed of in landfill rubbish, adds to greenhouse gasses as it decomposes and contributes to global warming.

So, here’s the challenge – could you and I make a commitment to not waste food? To buy only what is needed, take proper care of it so that food does not go off and share it when we have plenty? This Christmas would be a good place to start making that commitment a reality?

There will, of course, be plenty more that we could do to make Christmas, and our lives and habits, ’greener’. Change starts when we simply ask ourselves the question “What can I do to make a difference?” And remember, every single choice and action for change, matters. There is no time like the present to make the changes we can for the health of the earth and all life on it.

The God who was born small, fragile, vulnerable and very human like every one of us …. calls us to care for the earth and treat all life on the earth as a precious gift.

I wish you a peaceful, and ‘greener’, Christmas.