Christmas can be the best of times when we gather with family and friends to celebrate countless blessings, and it can be the worst of times when loneliness and grief seem too great to bear. On this Christmas Day 2020, in this year of starker awareness of uncertainty on our “swiftly tilting planet,” one where the loss of in-person gatherings is more keenly felt, what does the celebration of our Saviour’s birth look like? Perhaps some of us are spending Christmas alone, are ill, are mourning the death of a loved one, or have some other sorrow deeper than we even know?
May this holy day then be one where we draw still nearer to the God who came to tabernacle with us. May we experience His gentle peace, His deep and widening joy in increasing measure. May we be evermore conscious of the sacredness of every moment, every day, because of the riches that the Father has bestowed on us through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Here’s a prayer from the treasure chest that my English 103 students and I experienced this semester:
May you have the courage of Little Daylight in George MacDonald’s fairy tale and dance to your own music in the midst of trial;
May you have the compassion of Daylight’s prince and love with a true heart;
May you have the humility of Felix Moore in L. M. Montgomery’s “Each in His Own Tongue” and be God’s instrument so that others can discover God’s love;
May you, like Elwin Ransom in C. S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet, experience the awe of the Lord and grow more courageous;
May you, like some of the people in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Omelas, walk away from what you need to walk away from;
May you, like Bilbo in The Hobbit, resist consumer dragon-sickness and enjoy your life like a “child of the kindly West”;
And may you fight all your battles in the strength of the Lord as you journey through Middle-earth on your way to your eternal home.
As we hold Christmas in our hearts today, and look forward to his Second Coming, let us affirm the prophetic words of Zechariah: “Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace” (Luke 1: 78-79).
And come what may, have a blessed new year!