Christmas today blends ancient Mediterranean and north European pagan traditions of solstice celebration and gift giving, religious celebration of the birth of the messiah / Son of God, often tense and drunken get-togethers with family and friends, and an expensive orgy of consumerism.
While signs outside many Churches urge us to remember Jesus and “the real meaning of Christmas” (as if their was only one), a group of Baptists in Christchurch have taken a different approach, for the last several years they've constructed a Christmas Peace Labyrinth.
The themes taken up in the maze's many rooms include waste of money on guns, while people go hungry, and destruction of the environment, including the unsustainable growth of dairying in Canterbury.
The one that really caught my attention highlighted dispossession of the Palestinian people, by focussing on the situation in the Palestinian town of Bethlehem (legendary birthplace of Jesus), now cut off by the Israeli-built apartheid wall.
This roon in the Labyrinth featured a nativity schene where the three wise men were cut off from visiting baby Jesus by a giant wall, and a TV playing videos, including the following: