Homily Marlborough College Carol Services
Christmas is only a couple more weeks away, or, for us here at the College, only a couple more days away. Today, we celebrate together, but later on, we each will celebrate in different ways. For some, it will be a large gathering with family and friends, whereas for others, just those closest to us. Some will travel to sunny or snowy places, whereas others will not travel any further than the Berkshire border.
But, no matter where we go, or what we do, there is – I think – one thing we all have in common: in some way or other, we will all be involved in exchanging gifts: we will all be giving something, something of ourselves. For many, of course, this will be actual gifts, great or small. But it also may be giving of your time, or your skill: providing the music or cooking the turkey. Giving is so instinctive to us human beings that often we forget that we are doing it.
Christmas, then, is an opportunity to remind ourselves, and to celebrate that indeed we are able to give so much. And as Christians, we believe that we are able to do so, precisely because we have been given so much ourselves. And, contrary to our material economy, the more we give of ourselves, the more we receive.
Because, in the Christmas story, in which God gave himself to the world, we are reminded, that the greatest gift we can give is ourselves. Only when we realise this, that we ourselves are the greatest gift, only then does Christmas truly begin. When we realise that what really matters is not the present we bring, but the present we are: that is what we celebrate, this and every Christmas.