With Remembrance marked, all thoughts turn to Christmas. What will it be like? How will we celebrate in church, at home, with family and friends? These are questions that are all a bit ‘up in the air’ for all of us. They depend on whether the present lockdown ends as advertised on 2nd December (hopefully it does!) and what kind of restrictions we will be moving to afterwards. Even with the announcement of a potentially effective and viable vaccine, it doesn’t look like life will be back to ‘pre-Covid’ over night.
The first Christmas was all about uncertainty too. Mary’s uncertainty when faced with the Archangel Gabriel’s announcement ‘you will have a child and he will be called the Son of God’; Joseph’s uncertainty about whether to still marry Mary; the shepherd’s uncertainty about what it could all mean; the Magi’s uncertainty about what, or who, exactly they would find illuminated under that star of wonder. Maybe I am getting ahead of myself to be thinking about Christmas. We have Advent to wait and watch through first! But, like most of us I think, it’s Christmas that is on my mind, not Advent. And it was in the midst of that first Christmas of uncertainty, God took his first uncertain breaths, his first uncertain, vulnerable movements as one of us, as Emmanuel.
Usually, Advent is my favourite season of the Church year: waiting and watching for light and hope to dawn in darkness. Perhaps that is a helpful corrective this year as we count down to an uncertain Christmas. Advent says, wait and see – have patience. Not easy, as children of all ages know – ‘wait and see what Father Christmas has brought!’ – but important to practice, especially this year. Wait and see.
Below is an outline of our Christmas activities and services. Where services are (hopefully) to be in person please bear in mind that places will be limited and bookings will be on a first come first served basis. We will open these for booking nearer the time.
And if watching and waiting sounds like your idea of a nightmare(!) then look out for some information next week about two practical ways to bring some light into people’s uncertain lives this Advent and Christmas.
With my love and prayers for you,
All Saints Vicarage,
Thursday 12th November 2020