It is still November – but Christmas is coming!
In fact this year, with all the Covid lockdowns, it seems that many are turning their mind to the festive event sooner than ever.
What about you?
Have you begun thinking Christmas yet?
I had been looking forward for a long time to a real English Christmas this year.
We celebrated Christmas while living in Mongolia but it was a very different event. 25th December was not a recognised date/event at all.
Oh yes, they have all the decorations and holiday spirit. Shops are all decorated up from the beginning of December, trees, lights, baubles, everything, including a father Christmas of sorts, but it is all directed at a new year event not Christmas itself. Most know the word ‘Christmas’ but think of it as synonymous with new year.
The church would think about the coming of Christ but as the day is a normal working day in the country, unless it fell on a Sunday, the recognition of that event was on one of the Sundays close by with no significance at all being attached to the 25th December. Even then though, the main ‘celebration festivities’ were related to the new year and often people didn’t even realise that we, in England, would do it differently.
During those 8 years, we personally lost something of what Christmas is. We decorated our shop – but not our home. We gave to our staff, and sent bank transfers for our far away grandchildren, but didn’t bother to do more than say ‘Happy Christmas’ to each other. The magic was gone. Yes we worshipped, we recognised the spiritual occasion, but it really wasn’t the same.
So here we were back in UK at Christmas time – but our first December back was taken up with hospital visits as my aunt was in hospital and very ill. We did most of the visiting to allow other family to have a semblance of a normal Christmas, reckoning we had another year to re-enter into the English traditions.
And so to 2020 – and the opportunity for us to gather our family as I would have hoped is now likely being curtailed by lockdown restrictions of some degree.
BUT there are many other things we can do – and I fully intend to do!
I am, even this early in November (shock horror!) enjoying the Christmas lights on the house just opposite where we live. It is reminding me of Christmas English style in a way it would not have touched me years ago.
Such little things are taking a much deeper impact now that they are not so familiar.
So a suggestion for you, especially if you also are finding things a little difficult this year.
Will you come on a journey . .
Can we, in the strange circumstance of this year, use the ‘not so normal’ environment, as an opportunity to look with fresh eyes at all that this season brings?
Will you come with me on a journey these next few weeks as I personally rediscover an English Christmas and share with you my thoughts?
As I look again at all the frills and even the commercialism that Christmas is these days, and discover afresh the joy in this season?
Remembering though that, however good they are, the main message of Christmas is not in the festivities, or the lights, or even in family, but on the true worship of God as we remember who He is and what he has done in Jesus.
So above all – will you come with me as I seek to look with fresh eyes at the wonder, the joy, the overwhelming magnificence of the coming to earth of our beautiful Saviour? So together we can let everything direct our thoughts, and our hearts to Him, to the one who came into the world, the one who did it all for us.
Feel free to share your thoughts on one of our social media channels. Let’s talk together about the traditions of an English Christmas. Remind me of the things I shouldn’t miss as we look at this together, and lets show those who see the posts that both joy and peace are possible in Jesus.