The Christmas story is a reminder of the precarious nature of life. The risky journey to Bethlehem, the birth in primitive circumstances, the dangers from Herod and the flight to Egypt. At any point, something could have gone wrong and the Christ child might have died or have not been born at all. What if instead of returning by a different route, the Wise Men had gone back to Herod and told him where to find the Christ child? Herod would have sent his soldiers to the stable and Christ would have been killed as a baby. God took an amazing risk by sending his Son into an unpredictable and dangerous world.
We have been reminded over this past year of just how precarious life is today and how vulnerable we are as human beings. The Coronavirus has demonstrated that fact all too clearly.
This will be a Christmas like no other. When we celebrated it last year with our church being full at the Family Service with the Nativity Play and at the Candlelit Service, none of us could have imagined that next Christmas Nativity Plays would be out, no carols could be sung and the church would be limited to 50 people attending, all wearing masks. We never imagined that anything could take away all that. Nor did we imagine that something would happen which meant we couldn’t hug, shake hands, sit close together and sing in praise to God.
Life is indeed fragile. And into a fragile world God sent a tiny child, born into a world of unpredictability, instability and uncertainty. In so doing, God is telling us that nothing, not even death, can separate us from His love.
Christmas celebrations will be different, but we will still celebrate. Amidst the horrors of a global pandemic, we need to hear the Christmas message all the more. The message is a simple one, but it is breath-taking in its significance and power. It says that even in the darkest moments God is with us.
I hope that, despite the restrictions, you are able to enjoy Christmas and still be able to celebrate its true meaning.
Happy Christmas to you all.