So last night we went to the Christmas lights switch on. Along with about 25,000 other people. It certainly felt pretty crowded and there were times when people in the crowd were being pretty annoying as they tried to squeeze past us into space that wasn't there. Do I sound like I'm getting old? We went down because we were expecting good fireworks and it was our Zoë's birthday and she likes the sort of music that was promised. The fireworks really were spectacular and well worth seeing, the music and the chatter were rather less engaging for me. The musical highlights were The Vamps and James Arthur. Surprisingly The Vamps don't look anything like sexually predative women but are a group of very enthusiastic teenage boys. Perhaps it's a good thing that a female noun is used for a group of males as very often male nouns are imposed on females and perhaps they take inspiration from bands such as The New York Dolls (but probably not musically!) The sound quality where I was stood was awful so it's very hard to judge the bands musically. James Arthur seemed to be pleased to be there and everyone was very positive. Several times we were asked if we excited about Christmas, which seemed a little bizarre at the beginning of November. Apparently Manchester is "officially Britain's number 1 Christmas City"! That sounds like a statistic that needs unpicking by Radio 4's "More or Less". Christmas is certainly very important to the City Centre economy and Manchester has done a great job of developing the Christmas markets. I quite like the Christmas markets and shops but I prefer them in December. I do love Christmas. I love the Christmas Story but I also enjoy the secular trimmings around it. Perhaps we Christians should be pleased that the incarnation of God's love in the world creates such joy and celebration amongst the population even if they aren't sure why.