In the Methodist Church we’re not always consistent in observing the “church year”. Our Roman Catholic and Anglican sisters and brothers are perhaps better at remembering through liturgy and symbol the story of our faith and the tradition (church history). They will commemorate feast days and tell the stories of Christian heroes from the past. We share with them in that great story as together we write and participate in its latest chapter. I suppose if I’m honest I have to admit that we “pick and choose”. We’re quite hot on Christmas and Easter and its antecedent seasons of Advent and Lent, we mark Pentecost but that’s about it.
One thing we are good at is lamenting the fact that wider society seems to celebrate a Christmas without Jesus. In the average school nativity, Jesus is in any case relegated to a bit part as a child’s plastic doll is placed in the manger in the final moments of the drama, eclipsed by the unpredictable antics of small children in cow outfits.
Wider society also ignores Advent. With its fertile imagery, Advent provides the context into which the light of Christmas dawns. Instead, by the time the “church year” wishes to begin our celebrations at midnight on Christmas Day, everyone else has finished!
This year may feel different. As I write in mid-November, it is difficult to predict where we shall be. It’s possible that those of us who can will be able to celebrate with others. Others will be on their own. We shall still be in the grip of pandemic. None of us I suspect will have difficulty acknowledging the darkness. In a real sense then, Christmas is coming home.
The razzmatazz of a Christ-less Christmas has no answer. Only that flicker of light and the cry of that promised new born baby born in obscurity points the way to the hope that we all need.
May you all know the promise the Christmas brings this year.
Rev'd. Andrew M. Emison
Written by the Minister & Members