Christmas is well and truly around the corner and for some, this is the first glimpse of being able to leave the city and head out.
For some, this means being once again reconnected with their loved one. It means weddings and funerals that were postponed can take place.
Yet as we draw closer and closer to Christmas, the effects of the last few months stuck once again in lockdown seem to be looming over us.
The new normal Christmas
Whilst we try to forget, so that we can enjoy the Christmas festivities, the new normal is taking some adjusting for many people, families, businesses, churches etc.
The freedoms of once freely entering, congregating and celebrating the joys of Christmas now requires limits to numbers or passes.
So while we draw closer to Christmas, we can be left feeling like another year has passed with us being stuck in our homes.
Or we can be left feeling the pains of adjusting to a new normal.
One that sees Christmas celebrations, Christmas shopping, Christmas services and even some family Christmases looking very different to before.
The reason for the season
Perhaps somewhere in all of this, we have forgotten the blessings that this year has bought, but most importantly are we forgetting the reason for the season entirely?
Are we so fixated on the different outlook of Christmas that we are forgetting the reason we celebrate it in the first place?
This Christmas, whilst completely different to ever before, perhaps is the perfect gift to remind us all that the joy of Christmas comes from the truth that Jesus was born and not just the festivities that this season brings.
It’s a reminder that it’s not about the presents, the copious amounts of food and celebrating (though those are all good things too). Instead, that joy is not to be found in that, but in the birth of Jesus all those years ago.
As we reflect on the story of Christmas, I am challenged to see where my joy comes from. Does it come from the good news that the saviour was born, or does it come from the presents, parties and plentiful meals?
Whilst the situation we are in may be less than ideal, I am reminded that Jesus was born in a manager, in a stable- maybe we don’t have it as bad as we think.
So whilst this Christmas may look different let us not forget that the reason for Christmas is to celebrate and find joy in the baby who came in a manger to save us and not just the circumstances that surround the day.
To find joy in such times can be challenge, especially if you are away from family or have to gather in smaller groups. However, when we reposition our focus onto the true reason of Christmas, we can find joy in plenty because though circumstances may change, the good news of Christ always remains the same.