That was 2020 that was...

Doing my other job, like everything else just now, is proving tricky. I was a supply teacher working in secondary schools until a couple of years ago. Now I work with children who, for one reason or another, find school tricky, usually spending an hour or two working alongside them in their homes. That worked until the pandemic came along - home tuition and social distancing don’t really go together.

Going through my school bag the other day I came across some books that I had been lent to me by one of the schools I work with to use with one of my proteges. We had finished with them and the school probably needed them – so I rang up to see when I could drop them in. Reception answered. Covid had struck; their pupils had all been sent home and only a skeleton staff remained on site – please would I hang onto the books until after Christmas?

Needless to say, Christmas itself promises to be rather different this year. Having a good loud sing, even carol singing, presents risks. And how do you explain sanitizer, social distancing, and the dangers of spreading infection by touching the crib figures to a small child? So reluctantly, like other churches up and down the country, we shall celebrate much of Christmas online. There will be services at Alkham and Capel on Christmas Eve, and at Hougham on Christmas morning – socially distanced, of course.

For Christians, behind Christmas lies the conviction that in a time no less troubled than our own, God walked the earth as one of us. Whatever 2021 brings, we need not feel that we must face it alone.

So I wish you and yours a Happy Christmas, and a peaceful New Year.