Lately, there has been much talk about Christmas being cancelled this year. In a certain sense this is true. The parties and the large gatherings with big dinners and gift exchanges, will not be happening — or more properly put, should not be happening.
For churches, the Christmas Eve services, which traditionally draw the largest attendance of the year, will not be happening either. On an evening when traditional hymns like Joy to the World raise the rafters, and Silent Night stir hearts, buildings will be filled with darkness and silence. But here is where we must remember the reason for the celebration in the first place: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it."(John 1: 5-7).
Through Jesus Christ, God has shone a light into the pervading darkness of our world. The darkness, of course is symbolic, representing uncertainty, fear, suffering, and all that threatens to undermine peace and hope. The light represents all that Christ brings: mercy, forgiveness, the promise of eternal life, hope, love, peace, healing, and true community —none of which can be cancelled.
This Christmas I encourage you to look for the light shining in the context of your own life, community, and world. Though the doors of the congregation, which I serve, will be closed this Christmas, Benediction Lutheran, and other churches in the community, will be offering online services in some form. So, this Christmas, provided you have online access, you can do something you probably would not normally do — attend multiple Christmas services on the same night! To me that sounds like an expansion rather than contraction of the Christmas celebration!
God bless you and your family with peace and joy. Merry Christmas!