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A Suggestion for Christmas from Haddon Willmer

4 November 2019

Here is a book to give for Christmas. Buy it from Hive, (https://www.hive.co.uk), get it post-free, and support your local independent bookseller at the same time.

It is written for little children, so its words are few and simple, and the pictures pointed.   But don’t give it to a child. It is really for adults. We need it.

It is not a book for Christmas joy over beautiful things, though it is a thing of beauty. It is a book for deep reflection on the contemporary world, where there is no room at the inn, and Herod in modern guise slaughters babies in his ill-informed panic and desperate sense of entitlement.

Don’t read it, and don’t give it, without accepting the help of Aditya Chakrabortty –     https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/30/food-banks-childrens-books-britain-hungry-election. I am grateful he put me on to this book, and showed me its importance to adults, voters, and people accountable to God.

Many of us support food banks, and other charities like PAFRAS. Food banks were initially intended to give emergency help for exceptional needs. They are now a sign of what is ‘ the new normal’ for our society.

Give it for Christmas. Read it before Christmas and ask, so what shall I do differently? Or maybe, What shall I persist in doing ‘gainst all discouragements?  

For those with ears to hear, this untheological book announces the nearness of the kingdom of God, not as glib glad tidings of great joy and peace on earth, but God’s closeness hidden in the one word, Repent, the frightening call for a radical turn around. There is no way for us to get round that word, or leap over it, to get into the kingdom of God cheaply. God is not deceived.

Don’t read this book to little children. At the ending of Christmas Day, read it as adults together, while the tired children sleep happily cuddling their new toys.

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