“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, just like the ones we used to know.” Are you all doing the same as me right now, humming the tune with more than a little nostalgia?
With global warming, we’ve been dealing with the likelihood of a white Christmas diminishing for years. We’re now having to deal with the fact that our hopes and dreams for this year’s Christmas, are up in the air because of COVID 19.
I’m writing this article in the middle of November and my hopes and dreams are that we do come out of lockdown at the beginning of December and that we can be with friends and family. I’m a glass half full person but it’s a struggle clinging on to hopes and dreams. The Christmas story tells of a young couple whose hopes and dreams suffer blows just as we suffer blows. Joseph and Mary’s married future lay ahead of them. All was good but then Mary declares she’s pregnant and Joseph isn’t the father. She is to be the mother of God’s son, Jesus. Getting their head around that one, they’re then faced with having to take a 90 mile journey, to Joseph’s hometown in order to comply with a Roman census. And so Bethlehem is where Jesus is born and this is where we have that wonderful image of the new family in a stable, surrounded by livestock, shepherds with sheep, and wise men bringing precious gifts. It’s a beautiful story which is foundational to the Christian story.
We would never have had Easter if we hadn’t had Christmas first. It’s a story full of hopes and dreams that are thrown into turmoil at different times but, ultimately, it is a story that brings the peace and joy that the Christmas season holds so much promise of.
This Banksy picture depicts Mary and Joseph trying to get into Bethlehem today. Today they would have to negotiate the wall that surrounds the city. From personal experience I can tell you it’s pretty threatening, especially with the armed soldiers at every entrance point. Just as they never expected these things to happen to them, neither did we expect COVID 19, but if we pull together, and remember that Jesus is the reason for this season, well maybe we can sing again with more hope, perhaps not for a white Christmas, but one full of promise because, together we’ve pulled through.
To all of you, your family and friends, I pray that together you will have, or are, negotiating all those obstacles in front of you and experiencing not only the joy of being together, but also the deep peace of Jesus being with you.