When I was younger, people used to begin to get excited about Christmas when the first Christmas song, by, say, Slade or Shakin' Stevens appeared on the radio.
Now it seems that the Christmas season is ushered in by the Christmas adverts on TV. No longer just the Coca Cola lorry coming into down, but a cute Brussel sprout or a friendly bear persuading us that the only way to make our Christmas great is to buy the perfect present or cook the perfect dinner.
Don't get me wrong. I love everything about Christmas. I start wearing my Christmas jumper on December 1st and make my Christmas pudding even earlier! I am all for celebrating and having the best party.
But I do feel that we can so easily lose sight of what Christmas is all about and stress ourselves out by trying to make Christmas perfect; just like the adverts.
The first Christmas was far from perfect. Mary and Joseph weren't able to go home for Christmas. They had to make a difficult journey with a pregnant teenager, only to find that all the best rooms had gone, and they were left with the grottiest room ever!
When God chose to send his only Son into the world he didn't even try for perfection. Would you have trusted a teenager with the Redemption of the whole word? With every possible resource at your fingertips would you have chosen a stable for the birth? With anyone in the world to choose from, would you have proclaimed the greatest news the world has ever heard to a group of rough workmen?
And yet the birth of Christ was perfect. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, to save us from our sins and give us eternal life, not because we deserved it or were "worth it" but because he loved us unconditionally. Quite a Christmas present!
So yes, Christmas is about family. It is about joy and peace and goodwill but most of all it is about love.
So remember when you gets socks again from Auntie Flo, and the turkey you ordered is too big to fit into the oven, it's the love behind it that matters and whatever happens, your Christmas is perfect!
It only remains for me to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a fruitful New Year!
Revd Vivienne Starkie