Vibrant scenes and interesting art installations at MediaCityUK coupled to a tour of local festive lights in my own village this weekend highlighted to me that we sometimes miss the real meaning of Christmas, when it’s right there under our noses.
I was wondering around and about my village in the cold cold dark evening and it struck me that some of my neighbours have the most amazing Christmas light shows, lighting up their houses like beacons of celebration at this festive time.
The same can’t be said for the church, standing all forlorn and unlit in the sodium glow of the streetlights as the occasional car whispers past through the cold night.
Surely it should be the church that is lit up at this important time for Christians?
Didn’t mean to be too philosophical on a Monday morning, but it seems to me that the actual meaning of Christmas gets lost amidst the constant rush for consumers to consume anything and everything in a frenzied rush against a corporate calendar leading to a peak of bloated exhaustion.
This holiday season, I want to be happy and healthy and spend time with my family; three things that I have not always achieved individually or collectively at various points over the last 12 months.
So let there be light in the world, lets get back to the meaning of Christmas and let’s follow the star as it shines in the East.
The village of Karesuando (part of Kiruna municipality) is located on the Swedish side of the river. According to Finnish tradition the two are considered parts of the same locality (with a population of about 470), although officially a national border bisects them. The sides are linked by a road bridge built in 1980. The area is traditionally Finnish and Sami speaking. After the Finnish War in 1809, the border was re-drawn for political reasons, not because of any cultural or linguistic reasons existing at that time. Later a cultural and language difference grew because of school and church influence.
The village got its first buildings in 1670, when Måns Mårtensson Karesuando, called “Hyvä Maunu Martinpoika” in Finnish and “Good Maunu, Son of Martti” in English, bought land from Sami Henrik Nilsson Nikkas. The vicar and botanist Lars Levi Laestadius worked in Kaaresuvanto where he founded the Laestadian revival movement named after him. In 1944 the area was burnt down by German troops during the Lapland War and had to be rebuilt.