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Invited to the feast – everyone

One of the things we don't find when reading Dickens' Christmas Carol is people worried they are spending too much money on presents. Aside from a turkey for the Cratchit family and Scrooge's generous contribution to a charity (making up for the miserliness of years past), a Dickens Christmas does not seem to be much about gifts. Time with friends and family is the beating heart of the Christmas Carol, and according to a vast majority of Britons in a recent poll, time with family and friends is the best thing about Christmas.

Dr. John Senamu, the Archbishop of York, mentions the poll and writes about the meaning of Christmas in today's Telegraph

This Christmas, people will be worshipping in Darfur and Beijing and Islamabad, as well as New York and London and Rome. Some will join together with thousands of voices to sing familiar hymns to usher in the birth of the Christ-child, others will be obliged to worship furtively in lands where singing a Christmas carol can lead to imprisonment or torture.

There will also be near-believers or those who would describe themselves as "flickering somewhere between an agnostic and a mild believer", as Jeff Randall did in these pages a week or two ago. All are welcome and all are invited to the feast.