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2020: A Covid Christmas


It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers.

(Dylan Thomas, “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”, 1950)


In church, Christmas, as with so much else of the Christian faith, is about memory; in the home too, Christmas is about memory: childhood memories recaptured, shared memories celebrated, new memories laid down.


One Christmas was so much like another …

(Dylan Thomas, op. cit.)


Well, perhaps not this year.


It will certainly be a quiet Christmas for everybody, and the children will look back on it for long afterwards. But for the first time, perhaps, many will learn the true meaning of Christmas.


Not my words, yet fitting nonetheless when when applied to our current situation of pandemic, but those of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a letter, dated 17 December 1943, written to his parents whilst he was in prison.


We will celebrate in church, despite the lack of congregational carol singing; we will celebrate at home, despite the reduced numbers of gathered relatives and friends. This Christmas, too, will become another memory, another Christmas past, to bring out and share in future years.


May God guide us through these difficult times and bring us all safely to the promise of happier and healthier days.


This Christmas may God bless us all, our families and friends, for we remember:

Gam zeh ya'avor (Heb. גַּם זֶה יַעֲבֹר‏‎), “this too shall pass”.


Fr Alistair

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