This Christmas is going to be very different for our community.
The COVID-19 pandemic will alter many of our familiar traditions.
Yet, this Christmas is a perfect day to reflect on that story’s deeper meanings, which are as relevant today as they were two millennia ago.
Those lessons are not specific to Christianity. Indeed, almost anyone can find inspiration in the story of a young, weary family, making a difficult journey and the birth of a baby boy into the lowliest circumstances that would later change the world.
There are families in similar situations today.
Thousands of families in Canada struggled to keep a roof over their heads this year. Thousands more lost their jobs to COVID due to a ravaged economy, and, tragically, thousands more lost their lives to the disease.
And yet, so many of us who face tremendous obstacles and terrifying adversity kept moving, working, and pushing forward out of faith that things can get better.
Small acts of courage change the world around us, sometimes insignificant, obvious ways, but much more commonly by touching one or two lives with hope and encouragement that ripple out endlessly.
The holiday season is, coincidentally, the time of year when we are most generous with our time and money. We are tremendously giving people, donating millions of dollars to charity and volunteering countless hours.
This generous spirit unites us all. Hopefully, the Christmas story reminds us that we need not give frankincense, gold and myrrh – or more modern expensive gifts – to show love and admiration.
As for making the season special, we’ll have to adjust our Christmas plans this year due to COVID. We won’t spend the holidays with family and friends who don’t live in our household.
But there are still many ways to enjoy the season. Listening to all your favourite Christmas music is always a great way to have fun. Decorating your indoor and outdoor spaces can be a lot of fun, too. As Christmas draws closer, a family drive to see the Christmas lights and displays in people’s yards can be a right, safe way to celebrate.
It is also essential to let people know you’re thinking of them with anything from a gift to dropping a few lines to someone from afar.
So no, Christmas won’t be the same this year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be the uplifting season we all need now more than ever.