December 2020 - So this is Christmas...

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Banksy - Scar of Bethlehem (2019)

To quote from John Lennon, whose song has become a feature of the infrequent shopping trips I have been on in recent weeks,

"So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong..."

And to contrast that with part of the reading from John's gospel that we would usually have been hearing at the end of our Carol Services,

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it...

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world...

... to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth."

Yes, this is Christmas! And what have we done?

We have listened to those who have told us about the pandemic — sometimes we have agreed with them and sometimes we haven't. We have listened to those who have needed to share their stories with us and sometimes we have prayed for them too. We have lived with our own struggles, sadness and fear, together with the reality of so many unknowns...

We have missed each other's company and touch. We have missed family and friends and have developed communication skills that we didn't even know existed. We have missed worshipping God together and the sharing of faith in practical ways as church communities.

What have we done?

We have been representatives of the light that shining in the darkness; we have been angels announcing good news when so much of the news we have heard has been bad news, especially for the poor; we have been and will continue to be the children of God, living in community and declaring God's love for all humanity. We have discovered what God was doing and have joined in.

Now it is Christmas, so I finish with this blessing:

May the humility of the shepherds
the perseverance of the wise men
the joy of the angels
and the peace of the Christ Child
be God's gift to you
this Christmastide and always.

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