WMC: November 2020
From the Manse...
Over the past few weeks there has been an uncertainty about how we might or might not as nation be able to celebrate Christmas this year.
In the past week or so there has been clarification from the Government along with what is and what is not allowable in that small window between 23rd — 27th December, when there will be a relaxing of the restrictions we are currently living under.
Despite the controversial nature and divided reaction to this decision, newspaper headlines have nevertheless told us that Christmas has been saved and not cancelled — hurrah!
Of course, the notion that Christmas either needs saving or can simply be cancelled is interesting and one I suggest we would wish to both challenge and refute.
Not allowing families to meet in each other's homes for the usual Christmas dinner and the giving of presents, is not the same as Christmas being cancelled.
Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans of the seventeenth Century strongly disapproved of singing and all Christmas festivities, seeing them as wasteful, abhorrent and sinful. They viewed the celebration of Christ's birth as "popish" and argued that God had not called upon humanity to celebrate Christ's nativity in such a manner. As a result, an Act of Parliament in 1644 effectively banned the celebration and in, June 1647, the Long Parliament passed an ordinance confirming the abolition of the feast of Christmas.
Was Christmas cancelled then? No! Whilst even with the easing of restrictions for five days will mean that everyone may not be able to celebrate Christmas this year as they wish and we will be prevented from doing all that we might normally do, Christmas itself, can never be cancelled.
It can never be canceled for one extremely important reason; Christmas is not what we do, but what God did and does. Which is why to proclaim that Christmas has been saved is to get things the wrong way round. God doesn't need saving, we do!
God came to us at Christmas for that simple reason.
He came in human form to show us a better way of living and being. He came among us almost unnoticed so that we might be reunited with Him. At Christmas we acknowledge that we are not on our own and that in the midst of the messiness of our world and lives, God comes alongside us.
May we all be aware of the peace and presence of the Christ Child as we celebrate his birth once more.
With love and God bless
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