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Cockburn Gazette - - OPINION -

AS a reg­u­lar cy­clist around Bi­bra Lake and North Lake, it is frus­trat­ing how thought­less/ig­no­rant some peo­ple can be.

I see groups of peo­ple hog­ging both sides of the path­way, kids and an­i­mals that are not con­trolled.

The path­ways are the same as the road: stick to the left.

I usu­ally ring the bell on my bike to warn peo­ple and the ma­jor­ity ac­knowl­edge and move over, and I thank them for it, but some are ob­vi­ously too ig­no­rant.

To­day I was abused by a woman for not ring­ing my bell, which I did, but this woman was walk­ing up the mid­dle of the path­way and had head­phones on, obliv­i­ous to what was hap­pen­ing around her.

I have also had fam­i­lies set up a cricket pitch on the path­way.

With so much grassed area around, how thought­less is that? WE live in rapidly chang­ing times of both tech­nol­ogy and com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Yet the story of Christ­mas comes to us in nos­tal­gic forms. None of the shep­herds used Face­book but they may have had a Twit­ter about the an­gels.

How then does the tra­di­tion of Christ­mas come to us to­day?

The story of Christ­mas has be­come lost amid the triv­ial and in­sti­tu­tional ways of its telling. The myths sur­round­ing the Beth­le­hem sto­ries are so of­ten told as events rather than tra­di­tions about an un­der­stand­ing of hu­man life in the light of faith. Carols sung or played as we shop or even at­tend those times of the in­fant na­tiv­ity plays do lit­tle for the mean­ing of Christ­mas.

In fact, the way in which the Chris­tian church of­ten tells or shares the na­tiv­ity story con­trib­utes to its cur­rent mean­ing­less­ness. Why is this so? Maybe the churches have for too long sim­ply put out the na­tiv­ity scene as the ac­tual prod­uct of Christ­mas rather than as a sign of deeper mean­ing of Christ­mas.

Carols and some­times very ob­scure read­ings are used in wor­ship that is not easy to un­der­stand and seen as hav­ing any rel­e­vance to to­day’s world and its mas­sive needs.

Per­haps the deeper mean­ing of Christ­mas is very hard for a world so of­ten more con­cerned with in­di­vid­ual power than ser­vice and valu­ing oth­ers. We have seen this es­pe­cially within the Aus­tralian po­lit­i­cal scene where power is the driv­ing force in ridicule and rude­ness. Eth­i­cal be­hav­iour on all sides has been thrown aside for the gain­ing of the me­dia spot­light.

We also see this lack of re­spect amid racial in­tol­er­ance, in­ter­na­tional wars and civil wars where the in­abil­ity of hu­mans to re­solve con­flict re­mains the same as in times of old.

As mem­bers of to­day’s so­ci­ety we need the Christ­mas story of peace and good­will to all, not to a select few who have power. This is the story of Mary and Joseph, the un­mar­ried mother whose child was born in squalor. There were no porce­lain manger scenes there.

I in­vite you as you cel­e­brate the holy sea­son of Christ­mas to spare some thoughts, prayers if you will, for oth­ers who are strug­gling at this time. They may have lost a loved one dur­ing the year. Their fam­ily can­not be to­gether for some rea­son or other. Think also for the places of con­flict around the world and re­mem­ber in your of­fer­ing of a prayer for peace.

Be gen­er­ous in giv­ing to those who serve oth­ers both here in Aus­tralia and over­seas so that they will feel some­one cares.

Make a com­mit­ment to re­late to oth­ers with tol­er­ance and re­spect.

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