CHRISTMAS is a time associated with family and being together and spending time with each other.
Of course there will be those little daft battles, like who has control of the remote control, or advice given on how to cook sprouts, but compared with being together these are just small little things.
For those of us who are most fortunate we will be able to have family around us and feel that sense of completeness, joy and love.
Others may not be that fortunate. Those who are on duty at Christmas – First Responders, shop workers, those who serve our king, those working in care and many others.
Often they develop ways of ensuring that at some point in the holiday season or even beyond they get time to be with loved ones.
Others sadly cannot make such plans as this may be the first Christmas without a loved one being present, the absence could be profound.
The lighting of a candle to remember them acknowledges the absence and changes the absence into a presence. Those you miss would not want you to have a miserable time. So celebrate Christmas present, past and future.
The power of being with loved ones echoes what lies at the heart of Christmas – that we are called and designed to be with people.
Right at the start of the bible, God looks at humanity and says: “It is not good that you are alone” and so God creates a companion.
At Christmas we recall an event over 2000 years ago, the birth of a child who opens the door for us all, never to be alone, but to be part of God’s family.
One of the names given to Jesus is ‘Immanuel’ which means ‘God is with us’.
So whether you have a loved one on duty – or surrounded by the wonder and noise of family, are missing a loved one or on your own, remember that God is with you.
I already suggested lighting a candle for a loved one, but why not keep an eye out for a lonely neighbour and share the joy of Christmas with them and if you can, pop into a local church this
Christmas and be part of that wonderful bigger family that is the church.
May God be with you all.
Rev Ray Khan,
Vicar of St John’s Church, Bromsgrove