“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits; and in God’s word I hope. My whole being waits for my Lord, more than those who watch for the morning.” (Psalm 130:5-6)
2020 has been and continues to be an unusual year. We have all learned how to do things differently – from buying groceries to visiting loved ones to attending church. And looking ahead, Christmas is going to be different than usual this year.
One of my favourite Christmas movies is How the Grinch Stole Christmas – the original cartoon that follows almost word-for-word the story by Dr. Seuss. In this story, the Grinch hates Christmas, and he tries to steal Christmas from the Whos down in Whoville who like Christmas a lot. He sneaks into their town on Christmas Eve, and steals all of their decorations, all of their carefully wrapped gifts, and all of the food they had prepared for their Christmas feast.
And then, on Christmas morning, the Grinch pauses to listen for the grief and wailing that is sure to accompany the discovery that Christmas can’t happen that year. But to his surprise, he hears the Whos begin to sing their Christmas songs, because nothing can stop Christmas from coming.
I think that this is an important story for us to remember this year, as we celebrate Christmas in a time of Covid-19. So many of the traditions that usually usher in the season – concerts and parties and gatherings of friends and families – aren’t going to be able to happen. But just as the Grinch wasn’t able to stop Christmas from coming, Covid-19 won’t be able to stop Christmas from coming either.
Christmas is coming. The child that we are waiting for will be born and will be laid in a manger. God, who created the heavens and the earth, will become human once again; and we will be reminded that we, in our humanity, can never ever be separated from God. Just like the Psalmist, we wait for God, we long for God, and our hope will not be disappointed.
Here in the church, some of our Christmas traditions will continue this year – our Blue Christmas service, the UCW Christmas Service, Christmas Eve and Christmas morning services. Some other traditions will need to be paused until they are safe to resume – the choir Christmas concert, our Lessons and Carols service. And we will be trying some new things too – a Live Nativity, outdoor carolling – who knows, maybe they will become new traditions!
Within your own family, I invite you to do the same. Rather than focusing on the things that we aren’t able to do this Christmas season, why not consider developing some new traditions that focus on the heart of the Christmas story – on the Christmas that neither the Grinch nor Covid-19 can take away from us – a story of God’s love becoming flesh and blood and dwelling with us.
And as we wait for the birth of Jesus, I wish you and yours the gifts of Advent – hope, peace, joy, and love – today and the whole year through!
TRPC – December Worship Schedule
Sun. Nov. 29 (Advent 1) – 9:15 at Long Reach; 11:15 at Westfield*
Sun. Dec. 6 (Advent 2) – 9:15 at Summerville; 11:15 at Westfield*
Sun. Dec. 6 – 7pm at Long Reach
National Day for Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
Wed. Dec. 9 – 7:00pm at Westfield
UCW Christmas Communion Service
Sun. Dec. 13 (Advent 3) – 9:15 at Long Reach; 11:15 at Westfield*
Thurs. Dec. 17 – 7pm at Long Reach
Sun. Dec. 20 (Advent 4) – 9:15 at Summerville; 11:15 at Westfield*
Mon. Dec. 21 – 7pm at Long Reach
Outdoor Carolling Service
Tues. Dec. 22 – 7pm at Westfield
Outdoor Carolling Service
Wed. Dec. 23 – 6-9pm at Westfield
Thurs. Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
4pm at Summerville †
6pm at Long Reach †
8pm at Westfield* †
Fri. Dec. 25 – 10am at Westfield
Sun. Dec. 27 – 9:15 at Long Reach; 11:15 at Westfield*
1st Sunday of Christmas
* Service will be streamed at https://www.facebook.com/tworiverspastoralcharge/
† Due to Covid limitations on the number of seats available, pre-registration is required for the Christmas Eve services. Please call the church office (757-2201) on or after December 14 and leave a message with your name, phone number, the service you would like to attend, and how many people will be with you in your “bubble.”