Christmas is definitely NOT cancelled!
I have been reading in the media in various places that Christmas is cancelled, but of course it isn’t. From what we are hearing now of the government’s intentions, it looks highly likely that the current lockdown will be lifted for a few days over the festive period to enable families to celebrate together. Christmas decorations are up and lit in Belton in November; many of us starting our celebrations earlier than usual
What is Christmas for you?
An opportunity to meet up with friends and family?
Time to deepen the relationship you have making precious memories?
A chance of being together with space to enjoy recreation activities?
Time to “get away”?
Concerns over food and drink – too much or too little?
A time of increased expectations, or worries, or isolation/loneliness?
And this year.....what is going to be possible? There are many questions of how are we going to celebrate Christmas?
Let me take you back to that first Christmas
Mary, a young girl, heavily pregnant, having to travel to the home town of her husband, and away from all that was familiar, because the government of the day said they had to. No choice! Any plans they had, had to be shelved and the journey embarked upon. For Mary, friends, family and familiar surroundings left behind. Four or five days journey – an extremely difficult trek for Mary to face and to complete close to the baby’s due date. For them, it was time to get away. I wonder whether they had concerns over food and drink – well not the kind of concerns we might have; but they would have had to plan for their trek. I wonder if they took any gifts for Joseph’s family?
We are told (in the Bible) that there was no room for the family when they arrived in Bethlehem and that they stayed in the place where the animals were kept. When Mary’s baby was on the way, there would have been the usual concerns over a safe birth; in unusual circumstances and in an unfamiliar environment. Even so, the announcement of Jesus’ birth comes with a bright display in the sky (much more impressive than fireworks that we often enjoy) of Angels singing and a message delivered to terrified shepherds who do as they are told and go to find out for themselves about the baby in a manger. So Mary and Joseph have unexpected visitors. They must have been extremely unsure about them and what they might bring with them..... grubby shepherds and a new born baby? until they heard what the angel had said
When you think about the strange circumstances Mary and Joseph found themselves in, they could be described as unprecedented times. Neither of them would have experienced anything like it before. There must have been times when concern and anxiety rose to the surface and into their strange situation, the joy of Jesus’ birth
So, Christmas 2020 will be different. How we celebrate. Where we celebrate. And with whom we celebrate. Maybe in connecting with the characters of the first Christmas we can find joy in the simplicity of Jesus’ birth. Jesus as the son of God also known as Emmanuel (God with us), shares in the fragility and vulnerability of human life. The gift of Jesus as saviour of the world is a gift that we can still receive today. The angels brought messages of peace to the earth and its people. Jesus, as prince of peace brings the gift of peace, even now. So my prayer for each one of us this Christmas is that we would know the peace of Jesus Christ in our hearts and minds as we come to celebrate the birthday of Jesus
Rev Rosie Bunn
Rector of All Saints Church, Belton
St Peter & St Paul Church, Burgh Castle
image courtesy of https://pixabay.com