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Hope In A Child: Christmas Isn't Cancelled

Author: Tom Fairman

Picture: Piqsels

Hope In A Child: Christmas Isn't Cancelled

The struggles of the first Christmas can help us in our own struggles, as we prepare for a different kind of Christmas in 2020, says Tom Fairman.

The preparations we make during Advent are filled with wonder and excitement, designed to create anticipation in us. It becomes almost palpable in the air, as if Creation itself is holding its breath in its own act of awe-filled anticipation.

From the beginning of time, the world and all it holds has been waiting in anticipation for that first moment of incarnation-waiting for God to enter history, waiting for the moment when Jesus Christ, who formed the stars and moulded the heavens, would take on human flesh as a beautiful, vulnerable, screaming baby. As a child just like us.

In that moment God chose to share in everything with us, and chose to join with humanity in all the beauty and ugliness that it takes. The universe became a vessel for the divine and humanity came to worship a God who is not far away, distant or otherly, but a God who is one of us.

The First Christmas Was Incredibly Hard

So the incarnation is truly a moment worthy of celebration, worthy of choirs of angels, worthy of celebrating with those nearest and dearest to us.

However, we know this year is going to be different.

This year we may not be able to gather around our trees with extended family and friends or be able to gather as one community to worship and give glory to God. Many of us are facing down the fear of spending Christmas alone, cut off and isolated and it is going to be incredibly hard.

Yet it was incredibly hard that first Christmas too-for a young family who found themselves on the wrong side of religious law with a baby out of wedlock; for a young couple forced to travel from their home across the country by decree of the government; for a heavily pregnant woman as her betrothed was unable to find shelter.

This was a family isolated, cut off, locked out and forced to find warmth and comfort in a stable. Take a look at the nativity scene; there is no colour, no merriment, no busyness and yet there is no loss.

"I made you, I know you, I love you"

Eventually the time came, and the incarnation happened there on that silent night, in the lowly cattle shed without fanfare or an audience, without plans, comfort or support.

God chooses to change humanity again and again in places where the world is left on the outside and only us on the inside.

In a cold, dark tomb, alone and shut in, Jesus descended into hell, defeated death and rose from the dead. The apostles were locked in the upper room scared, isolated, when the Holy Spirit came in power.

As humanity, perhaps we need to be taken away from ourselves, forced to let everything else fall away, compelled to be empty for something new to be born within us.

Perhaps it is only in this moment that we can truly hear the words of love that are spoken through the incarnation: I made you, I know you and I love you.

Let Us Listen

Therefore, as we awake on this Christmas morning, as the sun rises and light breaks into our decorated, empty rooms, as the birds awaken in song and before we switch on our phones to share our joy, let us listen; listen for the sound of birth, listen for the sound of Jesus crying on that first morning, listen as the incarnation is awoken in your soul in the silence, listen as God blesses your humanity and reveals your true worth to yourself.

Then our worship and virtual celebrations can begin in earnest, allowing the shepherds and wise men to visit.

Then we can truly realise Christmas isn't cancelled -and can never be cancelled.

  • Visit Tom's blog  for a longer version of this article.

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