I OFTEN wonder, especially in the moments after an old lady has elbowed me out of the way to get her hands on discounted Christmas puddings in Lidl, what Jesus would have made of all the hullabaloo at this time of year.

Would he have cared at all about repeats of Dad’s Army or fist-fights over Trivial Pursuit?

How would the son of an impoverished carpenter feel about the money splurged on increasingly elaborate gifts while, at the same time, so many people around the world are dying of hunger?

It is 2019 and, yet, if it wasn’t for foodbanks, soup kitchens, charities and volunteers, some folk might not even have the grace of a Christmas meal. It is only through the kindness of others in our community that some survive.

The truth is that I have no idea what Jesus would think of modern-day Christmas.

Oddly enough, in my four years of studying Theology, it never came up.

Want to know which leader of the Reformation had trouble going to the loo? I’m your guy. Keen to find out what John Knox was thinking when he instilled the Calvinist faith in so many Scots? I’ve probably written an essay on it.

I would argue, however, that it’s almost impossible for us to truly know how the Christian leader would feel about the Christmas experienced by the modern world – but I’d hazard a guess that he wouldn’t be best pleased.

Let’s imagine that Jesus was born today – how would this change the Nativity play?

Conjure up an image of three scruffy-looking shepherds sitting in a field, with one asking another: “Did you see on Twitter about that boy who was born in Bethlehem?”

“Saw it on Mary’s Snapchat,” the other shepherd replies, barely glancing up from his mobile phone.

“Retweet if you think he’s the Son of God, ‘like’ if you are going to see him,” posts an anonymous Twitter user, as #Jesusisborn knocks the latest Brexit news off top spot on local trends.

Meanwhile, the three wise men are already on their way but can’t decide what to buy the baby Jesus.

“We can’t turn up empty-handed,” one says. “If we’re the only ones who don’t bring a gift, there’s no way we’ll be invited back for next year’s party.”

After more squabbling, they eventually put an Xbox, Rolex and Ralph Lauren polo on credit and add the gift tags.

By the time they arrive to see Jesus on his big day, they have to fight their way through piles of wrapping paper scattered on the floor, as other, quickly-forgotten gifts gather dust in the corner.

There isn’t enough space in this column to get into the origins of Christmas but I’m sure we can all assume Saint Nicholas didn’t have Amazon Prime in mind when he hung the first socks on a tree in Asia Minor.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the whole point of it all. I believe this time of year should be dedicated to family and friends – a time to build bridges and offer goodwill to all humankind. Instead, it has become the biggest pay day of the year for the money men at brands across the high street.

Is the only lesson learned from the Nativity plays of many of our childhoods that gifts must be given and received?

I must stress, it’s not my place to issue decrees, nor do I believe there’s anything wrong with gifting those you love something you’ve worked hard to pay for, but it’s important to draw the line somewhere and to remember there’s more to life than gifts under a tree.

So, however you choose to spend it, make sure you spare enough time for loved ones this festive season.