Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day in the US. Today is Black Friday. This Sunday begins the season of Advent, as we count down the days to Christmas.
And we’re still in COVID.
Many people say – reinforced by countless television commercials aimed at selling you something neither you nor your loved ones need – that “The Holidays are about family.”
I’ve been saying for years that this statement misses the mark significantly. And this is the year to find out if that’s true.
I’m astounded – nay, gobsmacked! – at the attitudes I see on social media with respect to the pandemic and family gatherings. These days, I see photos of some of my American friends, gathered in large crowds for Thanksgiving, as if they are unaware of the risk that if even just one person in a gathering is carrying Coronavirus, the whole group could be infected. Why are they taking this risk? Because “the Holidays are about family.”
In other words, maintaining a tradition is more important than preserving life.
We are entering what is usually the most socially-packed month on the calendar. This year, that may need to be handled differently.
This may be the year that you prove that the Holidays are not really all about family.
It is possible to be thankful without having The Whole Gang present in the room.
Christmas parties can take place virtually, or in physically distanced settings.
We can still celebrate the birth of Jesus when it’s just our own household.
I don’t want to pretend I’m anybody’s Medical Officer of Health, and I’m certainly not trying to engender fear in anyone. We serve a God who is bigger than any virus! But as Advent begins, I think this is the year we can demonstrate, once and for all, that the Holidays are not all about family.
In this year of craziness, let’s focus on the One (in the) Stable: let’s remember the Reason for the Season.
Whatever shape your Advent and Christmas celebrations take, be safe. And let Jesus be the Centre of it all.
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1.15a, NLT).