Christmas Speeches

Christmas, it would seem, is a time of speeches. Bored journalists always muster sufficient stamina to locate some morsel from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s tedious offering, and the Pope’s musings always seem to make the headlines, too. His Majesty the King’s Christmas speech was not as bad as some had led me to believe, but it, too, helped provide a headline when journalists wanted a few days off from serious reporting. The News and Star, Cumberland’s local paper, reported the ‘Christmas Message’ of William Bewley, the ‘head of Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons’. It went out to ‘lodges across the county and also the Cumbrian community as a whole.’ And, thanks to me, it goes even further. So what wise words and helpful reflection did the Provincial Grand Master wish to share?

"I extend season greetings to you and your loved ones at this very special time of year. A time when we remember Christmases past, children opening presents and shouting 'Merry Chistmas' to our neighbours as we prepare for the feasting of the day. Many of us are older now and perhaps watch with excitement as grandchildren open presents or prepare for a visit to and from family, as we secretly hope that Santa Claus has not forgotten us.

"This wonderful Province of ours does, through the work of the Lodge Almoners, ensure that our Lodge widows and those who are unable to enjoy these moments are not forgotten. Our Province is a very special place and the work that you do for your local communities and our charities warms the heart as you simply get on with helping others as you go about your Lodge business.

"As Brethren meet in their Lodges, exchange greetings, enjoy the warmth of each other's company making this another special time to remember. The greetings from our provincial grand chaplain encompass the essence of Christmas and remind us of why we celebrate. I am proud to serve as your provincial grand master, I thank you all for your support, and on behalf of Jennifer and myself I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year."

225 words which say next to nothing. At least he was pithier and more succinct than Welby, who said equally little, but took many more breaths to say it. To be fair to Mr Bewley, he would make a perfectly acceptable Methodist lay preacher. Yet I would suggest that if you have nothing to say, say nothing. If you have little to say, say little. If you have Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord - speak forth.

"For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20