The Christmas celebrations in 2020 will pose a challenge for us all. Your Christmas traditions might well be different to mine. Some of us have young families; others might have family that has grown up, left home and started their own Christmas traditions. You might well be a single person whose Christmas philosophy is to go home, draw the curtains and retire to the couch to feed on nibbles and wine whilst wading through a stack of favourite DVDs – or be someone who helps provide Christmas dinner for those who are hungry or homeless. There is the possibility that you work for the armed forces, the NHS or on the rigs. Whatever your circumstances, Christmas for all of us will be different this year. Each one of us might, of necessity, have to think again – ‘How can I make something out of Christmas?’ – or have already made the decision to forget about Christmas altogether. Christmas is about memories, and this year those memories might be too painful for a celebration. I always think of the words ‘peace’, ‘joy’ and ‘hope’ at this time of year. Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It encourages an attitude of giving and sharing, reaching across the restrictions of a pandemic. It might be as simple as lighting a candle and placing it where passers-by can see a light in the darkness. There might be smaller gatherings, less partying and feasting.
The challenge will be how will I touch somebody else, work out ways to touch those who are hungry and homeless or living alone, and especially those who grieve. Christmas traditions as we used to know them might have to take second place this year. I have watched town councils light up the high streets, set up Christmas trees in the market squares and build traditional nativity scenes with as much care as has been done in past years. We could make our mark this Christmas with an attitude of being a light in the darkness.
Lord, the light of your love is shining In the midst of the darkness, shining Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us Set us free by the truth you now bring us Shine on me, shine on me. ‘Shine Jesus Shine’ by Graham Kendrick