Cancelling Christmas and preparing the way for the turkey

On Sunday, many newspapers announced that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had solemnly proclaimed that he had been compelled to cancel Christmas.

I found this amusing and wondered if he had sent a negotiating team by time travel to the reign of Caesar Augustus, tasked by Her Majesty’s Government to persuade the High Priest, to petition God the Father to delay the incarnation for the time being. An anonymous spokesman from 10 Downing Street would then brief the media that although saving the human race was important, it was necessary first of all to save the NHS.

Of course the Prime Minister didn’t really mean that and we may have sympathy for him in making difficult decisions. We should pray for him and for all those who hold civil power.

Unfortunately, however Christmas for many is far removed from the celebration of the incarnation of the second person of the Blessed Trinity. It may seem that Christmas has indeed been cancelled for anyone who has been preparing the way for the turkey without thinking about preparing the way for the Lord.

And yet the feast of Our Saviour’s birth is still a part of the culture. We may give thanks for that, and hope that for some at least, the sad mitigation of the human good of families gathering together, may be softened by having a sense, even if dimmed by secular concerns, that something much greater is left intact.

In today’s Magnificat antiphon at Vespers, we pray:

O Emmánuel, Rex et légifer noster, exspectátio géntium, et Salvátor eárum: veni ad salvándum nos, Dómine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, expectation of the peoples, and their Saviour: come to save us, O Lord our God!

At our Christmas Masses, we will rejoice that the One who was longed for over centuries of preparation by priest and prophet, has indeed come to save us. The beautiful liturgy of Holy Mother Church allows us to bask in this great truth through the office of the feast and its Octave, the great celebration of the Word made flesh being shown to the Jews and the Gentiles, all the way through to His Baptism and the beginning of His public life with miracles that had never been seen before, teaching that had never been heard before, and the inauguration of the Kingdom that will have no end.

May the infant Christ bless us, and His Holy Mother help us to take these mysteries to our heart once again with greater fervour and deeper love in return to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost who have loved us first and loved us with such great benevolence.

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