Dr Rowan Williams said that many families start each Christmas season with good intentions, such as writing cards weeks in advance and arranging every detail of the turkey dinner.
But their preparations often descend into “the usual mess” and a “last-minute panic”, with the problems made worse this year in many homes by worries about how to pay for it all.
The Archbishop, in an uncharacteristically informal piece for BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought programme, reassured listeners that it is unnecessary to strive for a perfect Christmas, as Mary and Joseph themselves were in the midst of chaos when Jesus was born.
“The story of the first Christmas is the story of a series of completely unplanned, messy events – a surprise pregnancy, an unexpected journey that's got to be made, a complete muddle over the hotel accommodation when you get there...Not exactly a perfect holiday.”
He went on: “It tells us something really vital. We try to plan all this stuff and stay in charge, and too often (especially with advertisers singing in our ears the whole time) we think that unless we can cook the perfect dinner, plan the perfect wedding, organise the perfect Christmas, we somehow don't really count or we can't hold our heads up.” Read more...