Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 19 December 2013


Christmas is like an onion: it is good on a number of different levels, as each layer is stripped away.

First of all, this festive season is beneficial for the economy. Some retail businesses do half of their annual turnover in one month. The car parks at our out of town stores have been overflowing for weeks and the centre of Plymouth has been crowded. This is not to be sniffed at, as a buoyant economy produces jobs and pays for our public services. It is a delight to watch families shopping together, especially mothers and grown up daughters picking out new decorations while dads skulk around the corner muttering that the ones in the attic are perfectly fine, only to be ignored.

More importantly, this time of year is a wonderful family time and even if it is just once a year, it is good that we all get together with the ones we love to make merry. At a recent event for families of servicemen away on deployment, the wives I chatted to spoke of their disappointment that their men were away at Christmas. It is a time that families instinctively feel we should be together, and that impulse is very strong. We should remember especially this year the brave men and women who are away from their families on active military service. We owe them a debt of gratitude. 

But there is another level of celebration yet to be experienced and we are unwise to disregard it. This is the time of year in which we celebrate the birth of a special man. Watching toddlers act out the familiar nativities and singing well-known carols runs the risks of diluting the essence of the message, which is this: it actually happened. Historians record the fact of his birth and life and death and the impact he made. Eye witness accounts captured in the Bible hand down to us the things he actually said and did.

2,000 years later and he has just been determined as the most important figure in history.  He had no army and came in humble circumstances. Yet he turned individual lives and the world upside down and still does.

In the midst of the turkey and the tinsel and the joy of loved ones home, the deepest meaning of Christmas is to be found in reflecting upon the significance of the birth of Jesus.

Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year!

posted by Gary @ 11:36