I was honoured to be asked to write today’s entry for the Church of England’s Comfort and Joy booklet. As we come to the end of this difficult year I pray these reflections will be a blessing to you.
Nor is it small. Christmas is the biggest event in history and nothing can change that. Not even a global pandemic.
When God became man he didn’t come in what humanly speaking could be termed perfect conditions. His mother had travelled days away from her family, and although we romanticise the manger I’m sure this was not the crib Joseph the carpenter had in mind for the baby. Nationally this was an unsettling time of upheaval as the Roman occupiers counted the population. And yet in the midst of the mess and complications God came. Immanuel, God with us.
This Christmas many of us have had to change our plans and not see as many extended family or friends as usual, or even as we planned to last week. Understandably, we are all upset about this; for me Christmas is characterised by a house full of cousins and grandparents, and this year that will have to happen on Zoom. But as someone who is clinically vulnerable I want to say thank you for following the rules. That way people like me will hopefully be with you to celebrate Christmas next year.
So as we celebrate in our less ideal way, let us remember this is how God chose to send his son to us. Into the mess, the chaos and the unpolished areas of our lives. Jesus, Immanuel is God with us. He came as a light in the darkness, to bring us hope and that light and hope now lives in us.
My prayer this year is that we all encounter Immanuel, God with us, in our hearts and lives this Christmas.
Happy Christmas to you all.