Christmas is (at the time of publication) 46 days away. It seems soon, and perhaps overwhelming when, with our current pandemic, many of the ways we celebrate Christmas will change. Changing how we celebrate doesn’t lessen the significance or the message of Jesus’ birth, however.
I (Alvin) hope your church (at least within your youth ministry and among some of the church leaders) has already started those conversations about what Christmas celebrations will look like this year. If you haven’t, it’s not too late to start. Within those discussions, here are some factors/questions to consider:
- What are the current public health guidelines for your area?
- What is the current sentiment of your church family with gatherings and/or involvement?
- How is your neighbourhood/community responding with its celebrations? (e.g., Is the Santa Claus parade cancelled, continuing as usual, or going online this year?)
- What are the “non-negotiable” parts of your conventional celebration? Of those, which can be handled responsibly on-site and which can be converted to online?
- What are the needs within your community? How can you best address those in a meaningful and responsible manner? What gifts/skills/resources does your church have to meet those needs?
These questions can be asked at both the church-wide level and the youth ministry level. Some of the answers may be similar; some might be different depending on the adaptability, availability and skills within the group.
Two additional considerations for you:
- As things aren’t going to continue this December as “normal” we have an opportunity to pause and consider: How do we glorify Christ without giving into the busyness of the season? Back to one of the earlier factors, what are the “non-negotiables” both in the message and the program of Christmas? (Perhaps you can be more rigorous about those core elements of Christmas.)
- Take time to rest. This year, given the changes in expectations especially with the status quo, find ways to bless one another and your community not with more “stuff” but with moments of actual rest in the One who gives us rest.
As it’s been said before, this Christmas will be unlike any we’ve experienced before. May we find the blessing behind it because He always was, always is and always will be.
(Let us know if how we can continue to support you as you discern what your Christmas celebrations might be.)