I know it is not unusual but this year thoughts and discussions of Christmas started even earlier because of Covid 19. It started earlier because people have been speculating for months about whether Covid is going to seriously affect or maybe even cancel Christmas. But The big talking point concerning this 2nd lockdown was that it was going to be a saviour that saves Christmas.

There must be a few ironies in that statement.

What they meant was that the November lockdown would bring the death and infection rate down so much that we would be able to have a proper traditional Christmas. I can see the headline “Lockdown saves Christmas.” Hallelujah! everyone says, especially the shops and stores.

What is a traditional Christmas though that we are wanting to save? Ask an adult and you will get one answer, ask a child and you will get another. If I were to ask any of you who are reading this today what would you say. The answers again could be very different, but let me focus on one of the traditions of Christmas which does have a bearing on the message.

“Christmas is about giving and receiving gifts” That is it, isn’t it? “We give gifts to one another.” Everybody who observes Christmas gives gifts, don’t they? Then again More accurately speaking, we don’t always give gifts—we trade them. Someone gives me something, so I think, “Now I’ve got to give him/her something.” So I run out and get him/her something comparable in exchange. It feels uncomfortable just to receive without balancing the scale.

But at the heart of Christmas is the never-old story that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, born in a humble stable, born to give His life for us on the cross. We cannot possibly even the score by giving back to God. His gift was too great, too precious. And yet, out of gratitude for what He did for us, surely we should respond from the heart by doing all that we can for Him—not to pay Him back, but to say thank you for such an indescribable gift.

Lockdown let’s face it has not been a pleasant experience, and I am certain that I would get a variety of views shared if I did ask for comments on that statement about it being a Saviour. As for being a Saviour Christmas can only have one Saviour, and that is Jesus born in a real place called Bethlehem, in a real country Israel. You cannot outgive the greatest giver of all, but why not try to give him the gift of your time this year to reflect on the significance of these awesome, life changing, history shaking events that happened 2000 years ago.

Have a wonderful and special Christmas with those you love

Rev Geoff Boland


Our services at St.Barnabas over Christmas have been thrown up in the air, as has our worship since March 2020. We have been operating online for these months with a smattering of Live worship.

Our Christmas Day service will be a bold and very different service including something for everyone. It will be online not LIVE, and you can access this on our website. Do join us, the circumstances are different this year, but the message is the same .

On Christmas Eve though we will be opening up the church for a couple of hours 3 -5 pm. The church will be decorated for Christmas, the heating will be on, the seats will be socially distanced, the carols will be playing on our video screen, and you can stay as long or as short as you like. Why not take the opportunity for a time of reflection and a bit of peace and quiet?

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