The local shopping mall has court jesters on top of its marble pillars. From ground level, they look very jolly in their scarlet and gold outfits. But their faces are quite sad when you get closer.
That’s not surprising for they see the whole Christmas pageant below them. The well-heeled woman strolling along to buy this year’s must-have present for her grandchild. The small boy rushing to spend his pocket money on something for his mum. The newly engaged couple walking past with no eyes except for each other. Yet our puppets see the flip side. The homeless man being ejected by security. The mother worrying about what she must do without so that she can afford her kid’s fashion trainers. The well-dressed man who could buy anything he fancies but no-one to give it to.
Now, we say that Christmas is for the family, for the children, and for friends. But what about its flip side – the yuletide for the sad, the troubled, and the outsiders?
Well, the first Christmas was all about the outsiders. The older man who had become betrothed to a girl that was unexplainably pregnant. The girl herself shamed by being the target of wagging tongues and barbed comments. The wild and smelly shepherds shunned by decent society. And then there were the wise men arriving uninvited from a foreign land.
Let our jesters be a promise and a warning. Since if we are to be truly jolly, we need to see both faces of Christmas. We must try and bring insiders and outsiders together in the warm scarlet of human companionship and the sparkling gold of generosity. Since that will gain a smile, a godly smile, with’ the Lord’s holy ‘jest-ure’!