Christmas is NOT cancelled!
It’s an old story. ‘Long ago’ God spoke it. It was spoken in hushed tones, in loud ones, in hope-filled ones, in glorious declarations. The problem with old stories is that we feel that we know them so well, they can become tired. We hear, but we don’t hear. We think we know it all, so stop exploring and learning. Old stories can become so familiar to us that we forget to listen with new ears and our eyes can’t see beyond the expected, the obvious, the old. Poor Christmas, poor Jesus, so easily made into the nothingness of commercialism and stuffed turkeys. Recent announcements by the UK Government and devolved national assemblies, in light of the spread of a new variant of Coronavirus, have even led many, especially in the media, to declare that ‘Christmas is cancelled!’
This story, old though it may be, repeated as it is, needs to be heard in fresh ways by us all. Forget the idea of presents, tinsel and parties. Replace them instead with the ideas of presence and speaking ‘hope of life’ into the world. Gone the idea of a once-a-year event, but instead this Jesus is all-time. This Son lights the way. The Son of God wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger is sustaining, especially in times of uncertainty and darkness. This Son is so like the Father-God that this Son is the heartbeat of all the world. This Son is with us always: faithful and loving, merciful and joyous, vulnerable yet glorious; an example to us all in how to live in the service of God and as a servant of humankind. This is mystery. This is beauty. This is Christmas in a whole new way.
Despite the worry, fear, uncertainty and loss that the current pandemic has brought into all our lives, we should remember that Christmas is definitely NOT cancelled. It never can be. Christmas is Jesus; Christmas is love; Christmas is hope; Christmas is light and life. Christmas is eternal and will carry us through this time of great difficulty, if only we hear the ‘old story’ in new ways and listen like we never have before.