Last year I spent Christmas with my sister and her family. My sister came down to Liverpool on Christmas Eve so she could attend the Crib Service and the Midnight Service on Christmas Eve here at St. David’s. We then travelled to her house on Christmas Day. When we arrived at my sister’s village near Kendal there was a village green. By the time we left twenty-four hours later the village had acquired a pond! The village was not really affected by last year’s floods although they did lose two of the three roads in and out of the village. My sister’s friend who lives about two miles away had her house flooded and it was virtually six months before her family could return home. Many people in Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire were also affected. One man being interviewed on television stated
“Christmas has been cancelled this year!” ….No it had not!
We, over the years, have kept to traditions of family meals and giving gifts which are actually at the heart of Christianity but somehow over the years they seem to have become separated. Many people now regard Christmas simply as a good reason to celebrate at a time of the year when the days are shorter and often the weather is miserable. They like the idea of a ‘Winter Festival’. However, Christmas would not be Christmas without CHRIST! When we reflect on the first Christmas the story is all about a gift for all of us…the gift of God’s own Son given to be our Saviour.
It should be a time when we celebrate Jesus being born as one of us to share our human experiences. We celebrate His birthday with family meals as we do every Sunday with our Holy Communion services. Christmas also gives us the opportunity to look forward to His second coming as the Bible promises. The Christmas story is about a baby born to a family far from home as they registered to pay taxes to the Romans who were occupying their country. The baby was born amongst the animals because there was no room at the inn and their first visitors were shepherds who were regarded them as outcasts of society.
This year many people will be away from their homes. Some will be homeless because of war within their country, others because they are regarded as outcasts and often those who are the most vulnerable amongst us. As I write this the news is reporting on the earthquakes in Italy as well as the migrant situation in Europe. How will they celebrate this Christmas?
May we, who will be fortunate to celebrate Christmas with our families and friends, enjoy ourselves whilst sparing a thought for the homeless, the vulnerable and all those in need.
We thank God for what is our greatest gift… our Lord Jesus Christ.
Season’s blessings, Sheila.
(This article was originally published as part of St David’s Messenger in December 2016)