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Reflection by Stewart Perry

Last Thursday (5th of November to be precise) I was walking through the Town Centre to pick up something for lunch and I noticed Centre staff filming the Santa display with Santa actually there… I suspect that Santa ‘arrived’ that day by the look of what was going on. I quickly messaged Leanne and her one word response was “Outrageous”.

Christmas decorations are starting to go up, I’m already seeing Christmas lights appearing outside of people’s homes… it does seem much earlier than ever this year. And you know what I’m not as outraged as I normally am… & despite Leanne’s text message reply, I know it really doesn’t bother her that much.

Christmas will be different this year that is for sure!

I noticed that Myer are going with the advertising theme “Happy Congratulations and Merry Christmas”. While it makes little sense when you first read it, their perspective is that this Christmas we’ll not only be able to celebrate Christmas, but we’ll also be able to catch up on the birthdays, celebrations and milestones we’ve missed this year due to lockdown and restrictions.

It will be a very different Christmas this year on many fronts but as a church, we are going to embrace that. Our theme for Advent and Christmas is – Christmas is different. It always was, it always should be different. Yes it is perhaps more different than ever but let’s embrace that difference as we explore what is the real point of difference about Christmas.

Clergy received a letter from the Archbishop on Tuesday this week suggesting that it is unlikely that restrictions will be eased prior to Christmas, which means the restrictions we currently experience are likely to be the restrictions we will experience at Christmas time. While there are a couple of specific restrictions that the Archbishop has imposed for all Anglican Churches in Southern Queensland, almost all of the restrictions are imposed by the government under the COVID Safe industry plan. If we don’t agree to them we cannot open or operate, if we do not comply with them we risk fines or closure.

While we do hope and pray that there may be a change if it is safe to do so, let’s not miss the opportunity we have to make God possible in this season. Let’s embrace the difference of Christmas motivated by the difference that Christ makes in our lives.

Yes I know it’s no fun registering each time you come, I know it’s not the same to watch church online, I know there is challenges doing what we use to love doing but let’s not miss the opportunity of making the most of what we can do – because what we can do is still more than enough to make God possible… but if we miss the opportunity because of our inaction, indifference or self-focus or if we deliberately exclude ourselves then Christmas will be different for all the wrong reasons.

Look out in early December for all the details of what we’ll be doing but you don’t need to wait until then – you can actually start to make a difference right now. It is a combination of both our attitude, willingness and response – God is more than ready to act in and through us.

Have a different week



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