What does Joey Essex teach us about Christmas

You may have seen the following interview from Heat Magazine with Joey Essex who is the star of “The Only Way is Essex”

Heat Magazine: Will you put a nativity scene under the tree?
Joey Essex: What does that mean?
Heat: You know what a nativity scene is, surely…
Joey: An activity screen? Is it a box you put presents in
Heat: You know, when Jesus was born…
Joey: Oh! The hay round the bottom of the Christmas tree!
Heat: His mum and dad, Mary and Joseph…
Joey: They put him in a cot?
Heat: A crib…
Joey: Like a house? What was that song they used to sing? :Bursts into song “Baby Jesus! Bethlehem! And he used to sit in a little barn?” That was a sick song. I really want to start going to church.
Heat: And the three wise men brought him gold, frankincense and myrh…
Joey: [incredulous] How do you know all of this…

I enjoyed getting to know Joey a little bit through the lens of the I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here TV show. He comes across as a really nice lad who hasn’t necessarily had the educational opportunities many people have enjoyed across the UK. For some this makes him an object of ridicule, for me I find his take on things very refreshing. There was a lovely moment in “Celebrity” where Joey discovers a Stick Insect:

I love the wonder and excitement that  Joey brings encountering this creature for the first time. In cynical times these are refreshing emotions to behold. I would love Joey to hear the good news of Christmas not so he passes some kind of public acceptability test but because Christmas contains some world changing news for Joey and everyone else on the planet.

The “Baby Jesus in a little barn” is the King of heaven. That would be mind blowing for Joey to grasp.
Jesus was as my favourite carols “Hark the Herald Angels” puts it:

Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

The Christmas story is not just historically true but is life changing.
But I don’t just want Joey Essex to come to know the Christmas story in its reality this festive season, amongst the commercialism and the cynicism I want to recover again the mystery and beauty and wonder of Christmas. An opportunity to do just this has come to me through our work in fostering and adoption….

Our foster son has been asking a lot of questions about Christmas. There’s something exciting about helping someone come to understand the Christmas story for the first time. As I have answered his questions I have tried to explain the nativity story in a way he can understand something of its beauty captivates me again. If you want know again the wonder of Christmas take time to explain it to someone – both you and they will be helped as a result.

If anyone sees Joey on the streets of Essex this Christmas time – please invite him to a carol service by the looks of things he will love it.


2 thoughts on “What does Joey Essex teach us about Christmas

  1. Ted says:

    I would suggest that it teaches us the harvest is “still” plentiful. That, for a variety of reasons, we have gotten sidetracked. Christmas is a bit more than a baby in a major, while at the same time it’s everything. The King has come – he has punched a whole in the roof of the world and climbed in. The ideal has become real (to quote Keller). To the extent we have this in our hearts – to the extent that we understand the miracle of the LOGOS becoming flesh – is the extent to which we will impact those around us.

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