I suspect most people have received gifts they did not appreciate. This year I decide to give the birds that visit my garden a new nyger seed feeder as my original one was getting quite tatty with one of its perches missing and its top held together by glue. So on Christmas Day I filled up the new feeder and put it out. Only to find that the birds that used to feed on the old took one look at it and flew away. They obviously did not appreciate what I believed to be an improved service. True, the weather since Christmas has been relatively mild for the time of year so they are not forced to use the new feeder. Maybe they will return and try again to obtain the seeds from it if there is a cold snap. Until then the variety of birds in my garden has somewhat decreased. Since then there have been a few birds at the feeder but none of the species that were so regular at the old feeder. There have been times when I have considered putting out the old one instead.
It got me thinking that the most unappreciated gift at Christmas is God’s gift of His Son. For a start Herod did not appreciate it with the massacre of the innocents. When Jesus was baptised in the Jordan a voice from Heaven was heard to say that God the Father was well-pleased with His Son. Yet when he returned to Nazareth a few weeks later the crowd became so angry that they wanted to throw him off a cliff. Though the Jewish people were expecting the Messiah, the Messiah that came was not the one they were hoping for. They were looking for a military leader who would defeat the Romans. Even the disciples after the resurrection still asked if Jesus would restore the kingdom now. The temple authorities in Jerusalem did not appreciate any change to the status quo. Though I suspect that even they did not realise how redundant they would become under the new covenant. But they knew He was sufficient a challenge to their authority that they talked of killing Him for some time before the cross.
Today commercial interests generally ignore the religious aspects of Christmas, especially if they get in the way of a fast buck. Santa’s grottos are fine, but nativity scenes might offend someone. (Funny how secularists are so worried about how Christians might offend those of other religions, but they are quite happy to offend Christians by their attacks on Christianity.) Anything that might temper the public’s appetite for gluttony, drunkenness, and a whole host of other excesses that are associated with the Christmas period must be downplayed. The babe in the manger is totally unappreciated by them.
I had hoped that I could report that by this time the birds had overcome their reluctance to use the feeder and things had gone back to as it was. Alas this is not the case and I have not had to top up the feeder since Christmas Day.
David Rose, 2020.