"We are used to unwrapping presents at Christmas…maybe it’s time we unwrap Christmas…
This year we have been forced to rethink Christmas. A Christmas in the chaos. A season often characterised by excessive fun and food is now characterised by restricting what we do and who we see.
Has COVID cancelled Christmas? Well, the annual John Lewis advert has still been released, so surely Christmas is still happening…right?!
We’ve been forced to make decisions about Christmas that often we don’t need to make. For some, maybe the isolation is a joy; a chance to take a break and take a breather. But for many, Christmas this year will feel strange. Never before has the desire to meet up over Christmas been discussed in consultation with the law.
But Christmas is still happening…right?!
When the pollsters ask the public what their favourite part of Christmas is, you get three themes: family, friends, and food. Older people in particular say that they love seeing family over Christmas. And sadly, these are the people that will likely be most isolated this year.
But whilst big family gatherings packed around a table rubbing shoulders and fighting for that last pig-in-blanket won’t happen this year…Christmas is still happening…right?!
Perhaps the situation we are in this year gives us a fresh perspective on what Christmas is really about. Yes, we will miss the fun, family, friends and food. But is there a possibility that in previous years we’ve let the pomp triumph over the purpose? Maybe it’s time all of us unwrapped Christmas.
When we start to do this, we see that Christmas happening despite turmoil all around is no new situation. Christmas celebrates Jesus’ birth. A birth only necessitated because humanity was broken. A birth that a ruthless King tried to prevent through bloodshed. A birth that saw the Creator of the Universe take on human weakness. Indeed, it is no stretch to say that the first Christmas was in the shadow of death. It feels like this one is too.
The message of Christmas has always been a story of hope for the hopeless. We celebrate because Jesus was born to save. We celebrate because the Son of God would humble Himself to come as a man and be overcome in a gruesome public death as a substitute for mankind. That the wrongs of mankind would be paid for by the wronged is staggering. All because God loves the world that much.
So yes, Christmas is still happening. Because COVID can’t cancel Christmas because Christmas is about Christ.
- Dougal Burrowes, Ministry Trainee