An Unusually Special Christmas!
I’m sure you will all agree, it’s been an incredibly difficult, challenging , frustrating, worrying and stressful year for everyone in our country and throughout the world, as Covid-19 has affected and dominated virtually all aspects of our daily lives and work.
As we’ve endured two national lockdowns, and
even when those have been lifted we’ve continued to face a variety of
restrictions which have placed considerable limitations on meeting and coming
into close contact with family and friends, travelling, shopping, running a
business, attending school or university and much, much more –we’re painfully
aware of the high levels of hardship and loss which have affected most of us at
some point. With so many special occasions and celebrations this year being
postponed, or cancelled altogether, I sense that everyone is longing for a
sign of hope and light in the midst of a very long and dark tunnel we’re still
…..which brings us to Christmas 2020!
With all that we’ve been experiencing
and enduring, this year – perhaps more than any other in most people’s living
memory – we need to be reminded, and to believe as well, that Christmas is not cancelled
(though our ways of celebrating it will have to be modified this year for everyone’s
safety and well-being). Even the devastating effects of Covid-19 cannot
diminish the hope and light that God has graciously given our world by coming
into our very existence as a truly human being in the person of Jesus of
Nazareth, being born as one of us, Immanuel
(‘God with us’), so that no matter how dark, how difficult life
gets, we have the assurance that the God who loves us beyond measure is with
us, knows and understands our hopes, fears and needs….He is the ultimate source
of the light that dwells in the midst of our darkness and gives us faith, hope,
strength and resolve to journey onward together!
This year, more than ever, we need and long for a
Christmas which will lift our spirits in the midst of a pandemic, and help us
experience the comfort and joy which comes from re-discovering and
welcoming the living Christ at the centre of our celebrations! Across our benefice of three churches, there
will be a variety of opportunities to do this - some ‘in-person’ (always taking into
account the health and safety of all who wish to attend), and some ‘on-line’
(to give wider inclusivity for worship services which typically attract large
numbers, and those who will be staying inside their homes this month).
We hope you will find worship services and special events which will help you and your loved ones to celebrate an unusual yet very special Christmas – with our love, prayers and best wishes for a safe, joyous holiday and a healthy, hopeful New Year!
Your Vicar and friend, John Allan