Christmas reflection: Focus on 'the reason for the season'

MY wife Helen and I recently went over to London to do a little Christmas shopping, take in the festive sights and sounds and see a couple of shows.

A coffee flavoured with cinnamon and spices or a canapé of smoked goat with frankincense are not part of my everyday diet, but you can indulge yourself once a year.

It is easy to get caught up in the bright lights of central London, but alongside this, we also need to focus on the 'reason for the season'.

Tucked away, just off Oxford Street, is the majestic All Saints Margaret Street, a tranquil oasis in the midst of chaotic shopping activity.

Helen and I were able to stop, rest our feet and souls, and say a silent prayer for all our blessings - before retracing our steps to the shop where I had located my must-have suede boots...

I hope we all can combine the secular and sacred aspects, the Jesus and the Santa elements, of the festive season in the coming days but still find time with the angels, shepherds and wise men to celebrate the birth of our Lord, who in that stable in Bethlehem came alongside us.

Venerable Dr Stephen McBride

Archdeacon of Connor and Vicar of Antrim