I may well be a real-life Grinch! People start talking about Christmas, and I'm all humbug. This might sound a bit peculiar for a person who believes in Jesus, but it's true. Perhaps because it just doesn't fit. Perhaps it is the Coca-Cola red Santa suits, the reindeer, the winter scenes, the countdown of shopping days, the forced cheer or even those crazy Christmas lights that light up the front yards of houses. I see all of those things and find myself humbugging a lot!

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy Christmas. I do. I don't enjoy the commercial hype or the constant reference to winter. 

I long for an unplugged version of Christmas. A version where we aren't counting shopping days until the day. A version where we don't have to pretend that snow is a big part of the day. I long for a version of Christmas where we appreciate and celebrate Australia in December, not December in the UK, Europe or the USA. A version of Christmas that takes its time, because of the heat. A version of Christmas that fits us. An Australian Christmas where our individuality is celebrated. Where Santa appears wearing shorts and thongs in a wagon behind flying emus. Where food is pared back to summer food, BBQ's, cold meat and salads, Middle Eastern food, Asian food, Indian food. Food from places that know what it means to be in the heat. 

Most of all if I could be the Grinch and steal Christmas, I would steal the rush, the pressure and the stress. The unplugged Christmas would include times to reflect. Reflect on Jesus, reflect on the year, reflect on the gifts we have received and we have given. Perhaps I long for Christmas to be about being grateful more than about being busy.

Bah Humbug!

Richard Horton

Shepparton, Victoria