Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hats off to Christmas!

Would we have heard about the nativity play in Neath had it not been for the saga of the hard hat?  I doubt it.  But that hard hat carried the story into the headlines.

In case it didn't reach you, this Welsh nativity play was due to feature Mary, accompanied by Joseph, riding on a donkey through the streets of Neath.  A simple and straightforward dramatisation of the Christmas story . . . or so one would have thought.

But, no!  It appears that, according to the small print in the insurance specifications, in order to travel by donkey through the streets of Neath, Mary needed to be wearing a hard hat . . . no hard hat, no arrival at the inn, no baby in the manger, no Christmas!

Surprisingly enough, it would seem that the majority of our Christmas celebrations have passed below the radar of the Dept. of Health and Safety.
Perhaps this is just as well.  Were they to notice what's truly going on, surely they'd consider Christmas a potential disaster zone?

For a start, Santa greeting all those children in his grotto . . . there's no doubt that, under any vigilant Health and Safety regulations, he'd need to be clean-shaven.  Just think how many lethal germs could be lurking in those luxuriant whiskers.

Then there's the ubiquitous Christmas tree, carelessly festooned with dangerous fairy-lights and scattering unsanitary pine needles on the carpet . . .  all of the trees would need to be stripped and banished to the nearest timber yard.

As for the hazardous candles that crop up everywhere over the festive season . . . heaven knows what conflagrations they could cause if not banned during the celebrations.

Finally, what about potential dangers on the Christmas table itself . . . what about crackers?
The explosives are too feeble to cause any anxiety, but the jokes would definitely need to be removed.  Can't you imagine the consequences if someone read a joke whilst simultaneously eating his nuts at the end of the Christmas meal?  There could well be an outburst of choking and spluttering . . . maybe even the need to dial 999 . . . no, definitely no jokes.

Yet, when we stop to think about it, Christmas is all about celebrating a birth . . . and what could be more dangerous, less protected, than birth itself?  The baby has no hard hat to shield it on its daunting journey from the womb to the outside world.  The mother has no contract guaranteeing a pain-free delivery.

The process of birth is hazardous, painful and uncertain.
To conceive and give birth to anything, be it a project or a baby, is to take a step into the unknown . . . to voluntarily move away from the familiar and the comfortable and to place your trust in an unexperienced and possibly harmful process.  You are willingly laying yourself open to limitless potential, but with no guarantee of safety.

It's nearly decision time, which shall we trust . . . the unprotected, unlimited promise of Christmas or a hard hat?
Give me that unlimited promise any day!

Which reminds me . . .  was this the genuine article speeding past my bus window in the High Street yesterday morning?
He doesn't seem to be wearing a hard hat, so perhaps it was!