I wonder what type of Christmas you are looking forward to this year? I guess the answer to the question might be a traditional Christmas or a normal Christmas! This may be the hope that you have in the light of the experience of last Christmas. I suspect that I do not need to remind you of the five-day window for Christmas that shrunk to just one day, and the notion of socially distant families with all the windows opened to increase the ventilation, making Christmas distant and cold. Perhaps the Christmas mixing resulted in a positive test for Coronavirus. I guess we all want these events banished from our memories. I think that Christmas this year will still need to be measured and cautious. The hardest part is, how do you plan for what you do not know you will be able to do? There is also great uncertainty of what might be in short supply in the face of challenging supply chain difficulties.
The interesting thought is that one year is never the same as another. Therefore, one Christmas can not be the same as another. There are often different people sitting around the Christmas meal table depending on which families can come for Christmas. I think people always try new ideas and recipes out at Christmas to make it more special. So Christmas is not a constant but a slowly evolving and developing event. The interesting part is after such a big change last year what will you be determined to regain and what will you be happy to let go? Christmas going forward will likely be influenced by what we experienced last year.
So what is important about Christmas? I hope that I will not offend by saying that neither food, drink or presents are really important. Instead, I believe that it is people and our relationship with them that makes Christmas a special time. Last Christmas was marked by an absence of important people. This Christmas I hope for the presence of the people I care most about. If things are as difficult as the gloomy people are predicting, what does it matter what we eat, drink or give. It is about being together and sharing time and memories that will make my Christmas special.
It is always worth reflecting on the origin of Christmas, the birth of Jesus. It was very much a chaotic affair. Mary and Joseph could not find anywhere to stay. It was through the kindness of strangers that they ended up in the stable. I guess that Jesus’ arrival was a surprise to his parents who had hoped to be home in time for the birth. Jesus’ arrival stirred people to give generously to people they did not know. I would want to remind people that Christmas should not be introspective only, what can we all collectively do to help neighbours in need or strangers struggling?