Nether Heyford Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul
One of my Christmas highlights for many years has been reading the prologue to St John’s Gospel at carol services and services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1,14).
Inevitably, our Christmas celebrations will be different this year. We’re assuming that our church buildings will be open again, but restrictions around capacity, social distancing, facemask’s, singing and so on will still be in place. We won’t be able to host big carol services this year, but we are planning a ‘drive-in carol service’ on Saturday 19th December at 3:00PM on the Brodie Lodge Playing Fields in Flore. That service, as with many of the services we’ve planned, are subject to change, depending on how we emerge from the lockdown, in just under two weeks (as I write). Please watch church and village Facebook pages and village websites for updates as we make our way through December.
Of course, I’m sure it’s not just the church planning for a ‘different’ Christmas. At this stage, we’re all unsure of what the rules will be in five week’s time. I guess we’ll have to be flexible as things develop in the coming weeks. That might mean we don’t spend quite so much in creating the ‘perfect’ Christmas, but we’re happy instead to muddle through a bit. After all, the first Christmas was far from perfect; a teenage mum-to-be, political interference (the census), a long, difficult journey, Mary and Joseph far from home, no family support, nowhere to stay, their baby born in a stable. As Bishop John put it recently, if only Joseph had booked ahead, the angels found some higher status witnesses than shepherds, and the wise men had followed sat nav rather than a star, and brought some more practical gifts – like nappies!!
Making do with what they had was what the first Christmas was all about, and maybe that’s what our Christmas will be like this year. Mary and Joseph had to cope with the unexpected, and so will we, as the pandemic continues to shape our lives on so many different levels. But the good news is the ‘the Word became flesh and lived among us’. In Jesus, God took on our human flesh and lived as one of us. Jesus came, not on Zoom, but in the flesh, and he asks us to follow him, not on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, but in person. Christmas reminds us that God is not distant, he longs to share our lives; the tough, challenging bits as well as the light, joyful ones; the trials and troubles as well as the triumphs.
So I pray that whatever things look like come December 25th, you will know God’s comfort and joy this Christmas, and in the year ahead.
With every prayer and blessing,
Stephen 01327 344436 Mobile: 07511 544375 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org