The great day of anticipation is soon here.
In no time at all, we will gather together for the first fully in-person Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services since 2019. Though Christmas and worship wasn’t cancelled in 2020 and 2021, these past two years Christmas Eve and Day worship has not been the same. The sound of one another’s voices as we sing carols, the visitors from afar and familiar folks that we know well all together, the glowing candles as we sing Silent Night.
2022 with all its ups and downs is bearing a lot of expectation about what this Christmas should be. There are many people who are trying to get back what we didn’t have in the last two years, trying to have the gatherings, visits, trips that we missed the past two years. The parties and concerts that were cancelled. Trying to recreate with nostalgia the memories of Christmases gone before.
And still once again this year, those things are under threat. Not from a virus but from continent-wide weather events.
In our family, our planned Christmas company has been unable to fly out of Kamloops since Monday and might have arrived a week late, if at all. Another friend and colleague has been stuck in Victoria for days with no help from the airline in terms of a booking another flight home to Regina. Pastors in Eastern Canada and the United States are wondering on Facebook if in-person services will be cancelled for the third year in a row. Luckily, all the means to be online are already in place.
In a twist of fate, Manitoba might be one of the best places to be for winter weather this Christmas. We are going to have just the regular cold and snow that we can handle with no problem.
But of course, all the expectations about what this time of year is supposed to be are still there. And as a good friend says, “Expectations are pre-meditated resentment.”
Wanting Christmas to be a certain way with certain people following certain traditions is pretty normal. But as our world changes and there seem to be more things outside of our control that affect us in bigger and bigger ways, we might do well to remember that Christmas is a story rooted in unmet expectations and in people navigating circumstances beyond their control.
And still in a world that buffets us back and forth with challenges and struggles, God comes. God becomes incarnate. God is born into human life so they we might share in the divine.
So as we bring all the things we want Christmas to be this year, God is already at work bringing the hope and promise that we need in our troubled world.
May this Christmas Season be a time to celebrate the joy of Christ’s coming with those that you love, in whatever way is possible.
Blessings to you this season.