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Why wish you a merry Christmas? – what matters (and what doesn’t) in the festive season

Underneath all the layers of shopping and spending, Christmas can still offer deep meaning and joy in the Twenty-first Century, argues the Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon, in Why wish you a merry Christmas? (Church House Publishing in association with St Andrew Press).

Sub-titled What matters (and what doesn’t) in the festive season, this succinct and readable Advent companion takes the reader on a thought-provoking and personal journey through all the usual ups and downs, the cultural norms of the typical Christmas experience.

Referencing not only Noddy Holder, Johnny Mathis, Leonard Cohen and Mud, but also Blackadder’s Baldrick, snow in Croydon and the Nativity play lobster in Love Actually, Why wish you prompts questions that offer a fresh perspective on routines that may have become tired ones: Christmas pop songs, carols, snow, family get-togethers, and presents.

It aims to help readers hear the Christmas story through refreshed ears, to consider its meaning anew and to find encouragement that a Christian understanding of God’s commitment to his world and its people is powerful – and includes them.

“These days most people plunge into Christmas without thinking about the real story. As a bishop, I want people to have a great and enjoyable Christmas – and it's all the greater and more enjoyable if we get back to the story at its heart,” says Bishop Nick.

Bishop Nick talks about his new book in a podcast available at: http://www.cofe.anglican.org/podcasts/wp-content/uploads/cofepodcastbishopnick.mp3.

Why wish you a merry Christmas?, priced £6.99 (ISBN 978-0-956281-0-1), is available from Christian bookshops or by mail order via the web at www.chpublishing.co.uk.