Many families develop Christmas traditions. What must be done each year… decorations going up… films to be watched… opening presents… Christmas dinner… stories from previous Christmases… There’s security in being part of repeated patterns.
Yesterday I was chatting with Maurice. Mother-in-law will be with them on Christmas day. The rest of the family prepare bingo cards with ‘things that mother-in-law will say’ and tick them off as she says them. Christmas traditions.
Tuesday was the winter solstice, the shortest day… My friend Brian, a practicing pagan was celebrating with a group of his friends at ‘Ness Point’, Lowestoft – Britain’s furthest Easterly point. Winter solstice reminds us of the rhythm of the seasons.
Christmas traditions, patterns of life, the regular and predictable… They’ve been upset by covid – last year, this year.
Yesterday Rachel took grandson-Luca to ‘Africa Alive’. They saw the baby rhino, born to mother Njiri, aged nine, and 13-year-old father Zimba on Saturday.
Perhaps it’s the same with rhino’s as it is with humans – a baby’s birth changes everything. Traditions can no longer be the same; there’s someone else to consider… Perhaps that’s the Christmas message –a baby’s birth changes everything…
Traditional Christmas carols… ‘O come all ye faithful’… ‘Once in Royal David’s City’… traditional readings ‘In the beginning was the word…’ ‘She wrapped him in strips of cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn…’.
My Christmas reading this morning: ‘‘A dog returns to its vomit’ and ‘A sow that is washed goes back to wallowing in the mud.’’ (2Peter 2:22) I’ve never heard that verse quoted at a carol service…
Perhaps Peter’s reminding us that all habits and traditions aren’t always helpful…
The birth of a baby changed Mary and Joseph… perhaps Njiri and Zimba. I’m invited – whether by force of circumstances or deliberate design – to change and be changed.
And I shall still enjoy our family Christmas traditions over the next few days.