Go back to normal view
A dog is for life, not just for Christmas. It’s one of those phrases that we have in our repertoire but I couldn’t remember when I first heard it, so I looked it up. Apparently, it was first coined in 1978 by Clarissa Baldwin, who was, at the time, the Chief Executive of the National Canine Defence League. The purpose was to make people aware that responsibility for a dog lasted beyond the first few weeks after Christmas, and to reduce the number of dogs that were abandoned or returned to dog rescue centres in the first three months of the year.
It can be very easy to get caught up in starry-eyed enthusiasm in the glow of Christmas, only to return to reality with a bump in the days and weeks that follow. While this can be true of dogs, or gym membership, or any number of other well-intentioned enthusiasms, it can also be true of the message of Christmas itself.
“Peace on earth. Good will to all people.” A message of light and hope. We hear the readings. We sing the carols. We get caught up in the beauty and amazingness of it all … and then comes January. It’s cold and dark and wet. There is so much wrong with the world, and perhaps in our own lives too. We wonder what difference this message can possibly make, whether it can possibly be true in the cold light of day. It’s very easy, perhaps especially as we get older, to fall into gloom.
But the message of Christmas is not just for Christmas. It is, above all, a message of hope: of hope for a renewed world because God cared enough for human beings to come and share our life, and to die and rise again for our salvation. Of hope, too, because God’s coming to live in our world is a guarantee that he cares for us, that there is a purpose for our lives and for the world that will come to fruition in God’s good time. And of hope because we are called to share in God’s life, just as he shared in ours, and to be part of his plan of transformation.
As we move into this new year, let us remember: Christmas is for life, not just for Christmas!
With every blessing for a happy, purposeful and hopeful 2017.