With the loss of Janet, Christmas will be different for me this year.
Many of the traditions we developed over the years will not be possible, though some will continue. It is a time to re-build whilst honouring what has been.
It is still Christmas, and for the majority of us, things go on as before. There is the annual round of rushing to meet the deadlines of presents and cards. The need to buy food and treats for the great celebration. Deciding which invitations to accept and who to invite when and even where. Can we accommodate all those who are coming to stay?
It seems to go on forever. Then it is gone, and we breathe a sigh of relief and wait for next year, promising ourselves that it will not be as it was this time.
Too easily we forget the miracle of Christmas. Perhaps it is too hard for us to grasp. For many people it is beyond comprehension, hence the drift to a more commercial festival.
It is the darkest period of the year and we are asked to believe that the light of God has entered the world. More so, we are told that in Jesus, God has made his dwelling among us. In fact, it goes further than that — God lives in and through a human body, he has “taken on flesh.”
This idea of God with us (Emanuel) is called the Incarnation and that is technically what we are celebrating. We are remembering the how of the coming of Jesus, but this points us to the next 33 years, where God works out his divine rescue plan for the whole of creation, the weight of it resting upon the shoulders of Jesus.
It is the possibility of this remarkable event of Incarnation that causes people to be incredulous, to move away from the traditional Christian understanding of Christmas towards a godless festival.
But what if the God of creation were to take this action? What could stop it? God created and wove all things into being, so why is it impossible for him to place himself so specifically into creation?
The motivation of this action would be the love, which the Christian faith claims lies at the heart of the Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, mutually bound together in love and that love overflowing into creation through God incarnate, Christ God with us. This to give us a glimpse of difference.
In Jesus we see a life lived as it was supposed to be — in union and communion with God — enabling us to know what was intended for us. Seeing that vision of possibility, we could strive towards this and perhaps there we will find peace, because through the Holy Spirit the incarnate God becomes incarnated in us.
That is the mystery of the Christmas miracle.
On a different note I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support I have received since Janet’s death. I am still very raw, but grateful for her life and the love I have received from many. A Blessed Christmas and New Year to you all.