Letters: Traditions of Christmas are changing

As people around the world begin to prepare to celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ, traditions have been challenged in many different ways because of the global pandemic. Maybe that could be a good thing as many of us rely on our Church to provide the means of celebration whether it be a drama presentation, musical worship, the manger scene, children’s choir, the message, a Christmas Eve service and a time a time of fellowship. All of that is good.

With the government guidelines, most churches are relying on the “virtual” or live streaming technology for services. In B.C., the earliest church services, if the pandemic conditions improve, is Dec. 13 and even then it could be restricted numbers.

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The reason I suggested it could be a good thing is that it challenges all of us who have a faith or belief of some sort in Jesus Christ to really examine and be honest where we are in our belief system. It also gives us a chance to own our belief and do something about it. We can do it in our own home and family. For some, it is opening the Bible and reading the Christmas story found in the beginning of the book of Luke, listening to Christmas carols like Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. If this is new to you then just enter into a time of talking to our Lord about anything which is His desire for you.

The good news of our Lord is He wants to hear personally of what is in your heart and not a lot of fancy words. This year you can choose a church that preaches the Word of God and go “live stream” to listen to a message of the Christmas story. It is a great way to break tradition and lean into your faith. Interestingly the start of the early church was birthed with having fellowship in the home. Go for it.

For those who proclaim that we are serious believers and followers of Jesus Christ we also need to break tradition by choosing to fast and seriously pray. I am not referring to the extra few sentences we add giving thanks at meal time, but getting hold of the Holy Spirit, of praying for our community, our government leaders, our youth, the elderly, first responders, those dealing with the Covid-19 in a personal way, those less fortunate, for revival and for Christ to be truly exalted this Christmas.

It’s not too late to enter into the Advent which means “arrival” or “coming” referring to the coming of Jesus Christ into the world and of course we look forward to His second coming. Advent, which this year started Nov. 29, begins four Sundays before Christmas Day with “hope” being the key theme with the following Sunday subjects covered being peace, joy, and love. How about doing daily devotions as a family, having communion together, watching live streaming messages and being creative of celebrating Christ?

With our church traditions being temporarily changed, it’s a time we can either push into our Lord and really grow in our intimacy with Him or sit in the sidelines and just wait for the Sunday “live stream” to feed us a message. Which of the two does the Lord want of us as we prepare to celebrate His birth and why He came?

— John Grady, Fort St. John 

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