“Christmas is cancelled!” “Christmas delayed for two weeks due to Covid.” Two headlines from the national press recently. Bah humbug! Christmas isn’t delayed. It’s still when it always is. It’s still special. It’s still just as rich and meaningful. If, that is, you’re prepared to put the effort in. And in that regard – may I suggest – nothing has changed.
Two thousand years ago a baby was born. I suspect a lot of babies were born that year. And, whilst each may have been special to those who became parents and grandparents, most went largely unnoticed. The birth of Jesus was one such unremarkable event. Even his name was a common name for a Jewish lad at the time. An older father and younger mother would not have drawn a second look. As for being born amongst the animals and laid in a manger, well “join the club”, that’s how it was for many an infant. It’s the story behind the story, and the stories that came after, that were remarkable. And, to understand those you have to look a little harder, and a little further, than the manger of Bethlehem.
Children are still being born today, mostly in unremarkable circumstances. Many – too many – share the risks that were present at a birth two thousand years ago, which means that for a great portion of humanity Covid is simply not the greatest of their worries or the main threat to life. The wonder of that first Christmas, and the scandal for many, is that in that child God chose to take human form. God’s aren’t meant to do that – to get down into reality and dirty their hands with the wonder and banality of human existence. Yet, in Jesus, that’s exactly what God did. That is what Christians believe and will be celebrating this December.
Quite what December will bring and quite how we will be able to celebrate the season is not yet known and may not be for some time. However, in this magazine are the proposed services for our churches during December. Please do refer to our website and Facebook pages as things develop. However you end up celebrating Christmas please be assured of the prayers and best wishes of St Gregory’s and St Michael’s Churches.