Do you ever get that nice fuzzy feeling when you’ve been Christmas shopping and now you’re feeling really in the mood?
It happens when the warmth of shops, the loveliness of the gifts and the frothy coffee inside you win out over the queues, the heavy bags and the aching feet.
I get it looking at Christmas magazine publications too. One top brand this year produced fuzzy feelings in abundance by advertising their products in the form of an Advent calendar. I’ve never seen such shameless plundering of religious themes and language to sell stuff (well, they can – there’s no copyright on spirituality).
The front of the magazine said “all is calm, all is bright’. All their things were bright too – soft red Christmas jumpers, expensive fluffy cushions and stylish low heeled boots in a sale. Inside the magazine it said ‘we believe’ (in everyday luxury – silk jumpers down from £59.50 to £41.65) and ‘comfort and joy’ (cotton pyjama bundles for £47.60).
I got so many fuzzy feelings, reading those magazines and doing my shopping.
So it was a shock to read today’s entry in Tom Wright’s Advent for Everyone (2016) SPCK.
An enthusiastic would be disciple pledges to follow Jesus wherever he goes (Matthew 8:19-22); another says he’ll follow Jesus as soon as his father has died (and needs him no longer?).
Jesus dismisses their fuzzy feelings. He is curt – rude almost. ‘Foxes have their dens and the birds of the air their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head’. ‘Let the dead bury their own dead.’
Of all the Christmas shoppers hurrying about in brightly lit towns and cities, seduced by fuzzy Christmas feelings, warm lights, silk jumpers and steaming turkeys, it would seem that those with whom the Son of Man chiefly identifies are the street dwellers – the homeless.
Perhaps this should come as no surprise.