As a battered and wounded 2016 staggers to a close, I’m not going to reflect on all the bad things that have happened this year, and there have been a lot of them. Nor am I a Pollyanna, believing we should think only of the good achieved, and there has been some. But there are already too many tedious lists and smug or pessimistic reviews at this time of year and I won’t add to them. The best year end lists are those of books to bring pleasure to holiday reading.
It seems inappropriate to lavishly celebrate a joyful Christmas with so much of the world in disarray and turmoil. Restraint from excess feels right. But Christmas can be more than commercial gluttony and the kitsch dumbing down of a once profoundly meaningful religious festival. Whether New Zealanders are Christian or not, the celebration of this cultural festival can create relevance and meaning in the 21st century as a source of reflection, hope and renewal, and as a means of sharing good fortune beyond empty platitudes.
It is often said that Christmas is for children. My hope for 2017 is that we as a society will nurture all our children who inherit the world we have cared, or not cared for.
I wish a very happy Christmas to those who celebrate it, and a restful, peaceful and revitalising holiday season to everyone.