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, 18 December 2014


We had a wonderful nativity at Ridgeway Methodist Church on Sunday as the pre-school children acted out in words and song the story of the first Christmas.

Nobody misbehaved and the church was full of adoring parents and grandparents enjoying the innocent pleasure of their little angels. It was a proper nativity: no octopuses or giraffes, just the star cast and farm animals as indicated by the gospels. One angel sang in a way that suggests a future X-Factor contestant.

I suppose the key question for all of us, especially at this time of year, is: is it a true story?

Is it just a legend or tradition, like St. George (who it turns out was a Roman warrior who never even visited Britain), or King Arthur who probably never lived in Camelot or anywhere else for that matter.

Some would argue that it matters not whether the nativity story is true. Even if it is just a pleasant tradition it has spawned many good things. The Christian message of peace and renewal cannot be a bad thing can it? To have a day or two where we focus on hope and not fear, light and not darkness, must be of value, must it not?

And what is wrong with a season when families get together and spend time together, even if it leads to the odd bust up? What child would willingly give up the time when they get so many presents showered upon them and when there is usually so much chocolate in the house? Even if it is just a hollow part of our nation's tradition, Christmas is of value and we should all look to enjoy it and recharge batteries.

Or is it more than quaint convention? Could it be that the gospels are a first-hand account of an event that actually happened? Is it possible that our carol services and nativities are underpinned by a stark truth: roughly 2,000 years ago the One who created our planet in the first place intervened in human history and showed us just how much he loves us, by sending that little baby, part of himself, into that stable?

Is that the true power of the Christmas story? Not that it is nice, but that it is true? That is for each one to decide and this time of year gives space for that reflection.

I wish you a very happy Christmas and a joyful new year.

posted by Gary @ 11:34