I just watched the Liverpool Nativity on BBC3 tonight, and it was quite brilliant.
This was no cynical re-telling, but a contemporary, serious, politically aware take on the Christmas narrative, writ large as public spectacle. Thousands and thousands had turned out to the Dockside to join the spectacle, performed live throughout the city. What is fantastic about these events is that they appear to tap into the rich Christian root in our heritage - a heritage that I think people are beginning to see is vital to our coherent future, rather than being consigned to our past. I think this could be interpreted as a move into clear post-Christian water, where people are happy to be part of events like this without it being tied to 'the church'.
Christmas has always been about joining in the re-telling of stories, whatever distant orbit we have around belief in them. And this city-wide celebration of Liverpudlian music and theatre was just that - a risky, live, choral, sacred, communal event. It's in these moments that we are submerged into some wider consciousness... and realize why we live in cities - these urban exoskeletons that allow us new forms of movement quite impossible in smaller communities.