Barely had I had time to relax on Christmas Eve before the telly screamed at me a message from some hi fi crowd that even better shopping bargains awaited me on Boxing Day.

And the man who sells pots and pans said I should hurry to his place for his biggest sale ever.

I was also encouraged by a smiling news reader to have a fit of excitement as she announced that electronic sales transactions were speeding through the banking systems at an unprecedented rate and value.

No one mentioned what the real cause of all this excitement is really about: the birth and the teachings of a man all those years ago.

Advertisement

We have forgotten that he drove the money makers from the temple, now we use the anniversary of his life as an excuse for excess and celebrate our new priests who run our new temples, the big box retail sites.

I am not a practising Christian, I am probably best described as a confused agnostic, but this does not prevent me from becoming distressed at seeing His memory being abused.

Thankfully, there are still some who try to do as He taught. On Christmas morning, a group of good people, volunteers to a man, were busy preparing a charity lunch for those in need.

An agnostic probably has no right to use these words, but to those folk, and all others who still recognise the real meaning of Christmas, can I say "God bless you".
(Abridged)
JOHN PAKES
Ngongotaha

*
Free speech

Dave Donaldson's letter (Rotorua Daily Post, December 24) certainly tries to rebut all of the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers opposition's work to date to become an effective opposition to those in local power.

Related articles:

Mr Donaldson has clarified why a healthy democracy is based on free speech and the right to hold opinions that oppose incumbent authority and keep them honest and a free press to place these unfettered opinions before its community.

Thank you to our Rotorua Daily Post for that.

JOSEPH GIELEN
Rotorua