‘CHRISTMAS is coming, the goose is getting fat. Please put a penny in the old man's hat', and so on…

‘Christmas is coming’ may be a wonderful thought for many people. But for others the season of goodwill and cheer is the last thing they either feel or experience. It is pressed upon us by advertising to such an extent that anyone who doesn’t have the feel-good factor is excluded and made to feel even worse.

‘The goose is getting fat’ is a real turn-off for all vegetarians of whom there is a growing number. Plant based food takes up less space, can be grown indoors on vertical units, using less land, water, and fertiliser, not subject to the vagaries of increasingly unpredictable weather, and several crops each year.

Aqua-lakes under the prairies of the US which have taken thousands of years to develop are being emptied at an alarming rate for cattle to be watered and grass grown to feed them? Not to mention the destruction of essential rainforests elsewhere to provide pasture on which livestock may graze.

And that’s only the first line. The rest is intended to encourage giving to the poor but we are beginning to realise how patronising those in need find such a sentiment. Better to change the way we all live day to day so that there is food, water, warmth, shelter and suitable work for everybody every day, and healing of the mind.

Christmas IS coming, but it needs to be a present reality for every single person. And that will only happen when Christmas has come in the heart of every single person. May Christ be born in me.

Peter Bedford

Retired Methodist minister.