Christmas 2020

This year Christmas is looking like it’s going to be very different, isn’t it? 

Rather than the busy, busier, busiest progression we normally work through at this time of year, Christmas 2020 is looking like it’s going to be slower, more intentional, and more personal. Is that a bad thing? Peeling back the layers of societal traditions to focus more on the truth of the season doesn’t sound bad, does it?

Paused for this year are the mass-participation events such as evenings where lights are switched on, outings where carols are sung, and big get-togethers where festive foods are consumed. Instead, this year promises smaller and more intimate gatherings. Perhaps your family and one other. Perhaps your small group of close friends. Again, for this year and season, is that a bad thing?

Is it a bad thing that this year, your focus has been narrowed to family and friendships rather than festivities and frivolities? Don’t get me wrong, carol singing and Christmas coffees and Christmas markets are all great. But, are the big gatherings absolutely and unequivocally essential to this time of year? 

Luke tells us of the briefest of gatherings on the evening Jesus was born:

…the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, that the Lord has made known to us.” So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger. When they saw him, they related what they had been told about this child, and all who heard it were astonished at what the shepherds said. But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean. So the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told.”

(vv.15-20, NET)

The shepherds heard, went, saw, and then returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told. Their visit was (seemingly) brief, but evidently meaningful and impactful. The gathering was secondary to what had happened and how they reacted to it. 

“So the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told.”

Christmas 2020 will look and feel very different. Perhaps this will be the most different Christmas you have ever had. That’s ok. 

Whether you gather with 300 others or 3 others, you’re still gathering to celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world. 

Whether you sing carols arm in arm with the entire church or whether you do it via the wonderful technologies we have at our fingertips, you’re still going to sing the same songs with others at the same time. 

Whether you invite everyone you’ve ever met over for Christmas dinner or host a small and intimate meal, you’re still going to pause, ponder, and pray together, you’re still going to read, relive, and relish the story together. 

Christmas 2020 will look and feel very different. That’s ok. 

“So the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told.”

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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