What a year it’s been! (and how many times have we heard and read that in the last few days and weeks?!).

 

As I am writing we have just heard that Reading will be going into Tier 3 at the weekend. I am wondering how the conversation will go that I now need to have with my elderly mother about whether I drive to see her on Christmas Day or not. My support bubble booked into a local restaurant for dinner on Christmas Eve; we’re now reorganising for take away instead! With so much changing, so quickly and so much at stake it’s challenging to keep a steady heart and mind in it all.

“Christmas means: Emmanuel, You’re One of Us.” 

In a few days Christmas Day will be here and we’ll make the most of it; but it will be challenging to celebrate what we have and not dwell on what we don’t… But then come to think of it isn’t that the same each Christmas? It’s easy for our hearts to lean towards the loved ones we miss and sweet memories of friends and family who aren’t with us this time around. This year more than ever I want to turn that longing and leaning into gratitude for those very people and the memories of times spent together. Perhaps I can even find ways to reach out to others for whom this Christmas is more lonely than usual, to remind each other that we are connected, we are not forgotten but we are indeed loved.

A song that has been really special to me over the last 10 days or so is ‘Emmanuel You’re One of Us’ a carol written by the talented Rend Collective. It’s been a timely reminder that in the midst of all the upheaval of 2020 that seems to be getting more concentrated under the emotive magnifier that is Christmas, Jesus is with us, not a deity protected from the turmoil of life as we experience it, but actually one of us. It was true as a baby born to homeless, unmarried parents who then had to flee for their lives to a foreign land. It is true now as we come to terms with a world that will never be the same as Covid has swept through like an earthquake, altering the landscape of our lives forever.

I am comforted by the reminder that Christmas means that God is not just with us but in Christ he is actually one of us. Thank God we are not alone!

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