A restricted Christmas

This Christmas may well not have the feel of a traditional Christmas. Depending on what Covid-related restrictions are still imposed upon us, we may be restricted as to how many can join together in our homes to celebrate Christmas Day, we may be unable to sing out loud in our churches, and the parties which normally precede and follow Christmas Day may be confined to Zoom or social media. Some people may be told by their NHS-app to isolate completely, and others may themselves be suffering from the virus. You would be forgiven for thinking that these are dark and uncertain times.

Perhaps these frustrations will help us to focus on the real meaning of Christmas, the joy and hope which the birth of Jesus Christ brought 2,000 years ago and can still bring today. The words of the introduction to St John’s gospel, which we always read at some stage over the Christmas period, seem to me to be particularly apt: What has come into being in him was life and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.

They remind us that God loved us enough to send his son to us to rescue us from gloom and darkness, to give us hope that there is a better life to which we should aspire beyond this one, to give us a light to which we should raise our sights. The promise of a vaccine gives us hope that these restrictions will end, that life will return to something like normal. But Jesus Christ brought us a hope that will endure beyond anything that the world can throw at us. As we celebrate Christmas in whatever way we can, let us always remember that; let us never give up hope.

Do please come and join us in church over Christmas if you are permitted to do so. And in due course, have a very Happy New Year.