Yes, it will be a strange Christmas for all of us after a very strange 2020. Who would have imagined a year ago that the whole world would find itself in this difficult, and for many, tragic place? The season of happiness and joy and merrymaking this year will be… well… different.
There will, of course, be attempts in many places to create a normal, business-as-usual, happy Christmas – and I hear Santa will definitely be still making his rounds albeit maintaining social distance – but the cloud of the pandemic will continue to hang over all of our celebrations.
How can we find a positive Christmas message in the midst of all of this?
I draw your attention to the Book of Hosea. The prophet Hosea’s wife has been unfaithful even though he loves her dearly. He is tragically hurt yet he offers to take her back. Instead of condemning her he is prepared to give her another chance. He will entice her away from the noise and temptations of the bustling city into the desert, and there in the quietness and peace of the wilderness, he will speak tender words of love to her heart and win her back again. Hosea’s prophesy, of course, is about you and me and our relationship with God.
God is constantly calling each of us to a deeper love relationship with Him. God is constantly seeking to allure us away from all the distractions of our lives and our world into a place of quiet where we are able hear His tender words of love spoken to our hearts. No matter what we have done or how far we have strayed God is ready to forgive us and invite us home. A beautiful prophesy; a beautiful consoling message.
Christmas celebrates the greatest and most amazing event in human history when God became one of us, born as a human baby in the stable in Bethlehem.
He came to bring his light into the darkness. He came to bring hope to a broken world full of broken people. God in Jesus came to break the power of sin and death over humanity and lead us to our heavenly home. The awesomeness of this event however, is often lost to many in the midst of all the razzmatazz that surrounds Christmas. It is good and right that we celebrate, of course, but with so many presents to buy, so many cards to write, so much food to prepare and so many parties to attend and anxiety levels rising – it is difficult to find the space to ponder the reason for our celebrations. This year will be different. Because of the pandemic restrictions a much quieter celebration with a lot less razzmatazz awaits us all. Strange to say, Covid-19 could allow us to be drawn into a more peaceful place this year where we will be more able to hear him speak to us. It could end up being the best Christmas we ever had!
A blessed and happy Christmas!
Fr Pat Kelly SMA