As I write this the ITV series, ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ is just beginning. Each year a dozen celebrities spend up to three weeks in the Australian jungle living on rice and beans, eating all kinds of hideous bush tucker food, going through various trials and struggling with being away from all the modern comforts of life. Why do they do it? Well, they are paid a lot, plus there is normally a boost to their careers. Most of the contestants express that being away from social media and all the comforts of life actually have many benefits. They are able to get in touch with themselves; there is less stress and they learn the value of teamwork and friendships. They struggle most of all with missing their close friends and family.
Recently there was a programme on Channel four called, ‘The British Tribe next Door’. The programme makers decided to build an exact replica of Scarlett Moffatt’s family home right next to a Himba tribal settlement in the Namibian desert. One of the main things to come out of the programme was our reliance on “stuff”. One of the Himba ladies said, “Scarlett, why have you got so many shoes?” The Himba’s simple way of life and pursuit of happiness through working together and even the whole family sleeping together in their one room huts is a challenge to our constant accumulation of more things.
Maybe as Christmas approaches with the pressure for more food, more things, more, more, more, it is time to think back to the first Christmas and the birth of the son of God. Born in a borrowed stable, lying in a cow’s feeding trough, visited by unfamiliar shepherds, brought gifts by mysterious men from the East, driven out of Bethlehem as a refugee to avoid being a part of genocide.
This poor insignificant family brought up the most influential person who has ever lived on the planet. Take some time this Christmas, put aside all the “stuff” just for a while and think of him – Jesus the one who said, “I have come that you might have life. Life in all its fullness.”
May the stress and busyness of Christmas not hinder you from finding Him and finding time to relax and be yourself with those you love.