Weekend Thought by John Milbank

Mince pies, I love ‘em. There is something about my character that is innate, and I think it is mince pies.

Most people have them during the Christmas period and they appear in the shops in abundance, deep-filled and oozing with everything one should have not too much of.

I have them throughout the year when Mrs M can get them and you know what: I don’t care how bad they are for me.

Yes, Christmas has come and gone and we are reeling; tired, stressed, turkey’d-out, (sprouted out also), staring wistfully at the presents in an age of austerity.

The whole nation started to lose the plot somewhere near the end of October and our favourite shopping haunts became swamped with every conceivable ‘Christmassy’ Chinese import, coloured red, green, silver and gold and you had to fight to get to the rear of a shop to buy an ordinary birthday card.

If I hear once more Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody, I am going to admit myself to The Priory and into expert hands.

But thank God for the Salvation Army who not only bring real musical joy to our streets at Christmas, but vital comfort and cheer to the many who so desperately need it at a time when most of us are warming chestnuts on an open fire and being merry gentlemen.

I could, of course, go on, and if you are familiar with my writing style then you probably acquiesce to that.

But please don’t get me wrong, Christmas for me as a Christian is a very special event when I join with many other like-minded folk in love and worship to the light of the world in whom we live and move and have our being.

But with various degrees of avoidance of that part of a secular Christmas that is a bit too much like a mince pie – crusty and tempting, very sweet and sickly and something that you can have just too much of.