What a strange year we’ve all experienced. So many Masonic meetings abandoned; so many church festivals not celebrated. But as a church friend of mine often said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans!” This pandemic has not only affected Christian festivals. We lost Easter, but Eid, Diwali and Pesach have been lost to other religions, however, today I’m concentrating on Christmas.
I had written that however many restrictions were lifted I suspected that many of us would be unable to be with families and loved ones this Christmas. Sadly this has come about with the new Tier 4 restrictions, so perhaps we just need to focus on “small blessings”. I suspect that these small blessings which we take for granted, are probably the most important.

Looking around the streets in Sandwich, the Christmas lights seem to have gone up earlier than ever, and I fully understand that people are trying to dispel the winter darkness, as well as the emotional darkness that we have been subjected to. But last night we held our St. Clements Carol Service and it was uplifting. We couldn’t sing, but our socially distanced choir could, and the readings became even more alive by candle light. We caught the eagerness of the shepherds and the perseverance of the wise men.

I’m reasonably convinced that the wise men who studied the stars were Zoroastrian priests from Persia. We don’t know how many there were, but they brought three gifts. Gold would suggest kingly power; Frankincense would suggest spiritual power; and Myrrh would suggest the power to heal.

I doubt that the star was as huge or as bright as the Christmas cards suggest, although looking at the sky tonight with Jupiter and Saturn aligned, I might be proved wrong. But, these men were professional star gazers, so it was their job to spot it; and to interpret its significance; who else, I wonder, noticed it?

However, there’s no doubting their response. They kneel before the mere child of a peasant girl in a none-too clean stable. The wise men came looking for a king, but they found a god!

Christmas has not been cancelled, although it’s just the two of us for lunch we enjoy each other’s company, and we shall be able to attend a Service.

Christmas is still a time for deep joy, and however dark things may appear to be, a light does shine for us and for those we love. And so, a happy Christmas to you all. May the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, and the peace of the Christ Child, be yours this Christmas.