England is Freaking Out About Christmas 2020
And it raises some serious pastoral concerns
for our kids, families, and older singles on this side of the pond.
When we started resourcing this "Celebrating Advent in 2020" forum, I ran into a TON of online news article in the U.K. about all their impending holiday "cancellations." Among other things, I learned that England takes the Christmas season far more "seriously" than we do in the U.S.A. In England, Advent is a non-stop season of parties and special community events and traditions. It made me realize that the wonderful Christmas movie "Love Actually" is actually a documentary.
It's expected that Advent 2020 here in the U.S. will have its share of pandemic disruptions and cancellations too. October Update: CDC and other health experts are now saying that "the next six weeks" which will take us up to the beginning of Advent 2020, will be the "darkest" pandemic days as the infection and hospitalization rates spike. Coupled with 2020's divisive election, Thanksgiving and Advent are likely going to be even more challenging and disrupted. Time to pray and prepare.
What will it mean especially for our children when...
They can't sit on Santa's lap.
Grandma and Grandpa aren't flying in to visit them.
Community Christmas activities are canceled.
Trips are canceled.
Family finances can't afford many gifts this year.
And there's no Christmas pageant at the church this year?
As a children's pastor, father, and grandfather, it concerns me. And it makes me aware of how important it will be this year to promote real "tidings of comfort and joy," and not just talk about it or pay lip service to it.
That's the spirit in which we created this Preparing for Advent 2020 forum. Christian educators are some of the most creative and flexible "idea" people I know. And right now, the church needs us, and our pastors need us. But most of all, our kids need us. Over the years we've been experimenting with a lot of different ways to involve kids, create interactive learning experiences, and help develop at-home learning and traditions. Perhaps all that experience has been in preparation "for just such a time as this."
Read the growing Advent 2020 forums here at Rotation.org. They're full of good ideas for pandemic-savvy celebrations.
P.S. Perhaps some of our members who experience a "blue" Christmas can be a great source of volunteer help this year. There's nothing like reaching out to help others to help one feel the embrace and comfort of God's Spirit.