As we celebrate the New Year we are in the midst of the celebration of Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of Christ coming amongst us. He came to live in the community of a family. His birth was shared with shepherds and wise men; it was shared with the wider community.
In his birth and in his life Jesus shows us the way to community. As an adult he shared his life with his disciples and, frequently, with many more. Our knowing God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit gives us the perfect example of community existing and working together in perfect unity.
At Christmas time we have many examples of where we reach out to those on the edges of our community as doors are opened to the homeless, and family members and close friends are invited to share in our Christmas celebrations. As I get older I feel concerned about the ‘hidden lonely at holiday times’.
For much of the year many activities are arranged for everyone; the old, the young and everyone in between. Then at holiday times many of these activities stop; those who organise them need a well-earned break. For those who attend or organize these events the break is needed and deserved so that they can spend time with their families and friends either locally or at a distance. Some will not have families locally and their more distant families will only plan to be together for a matter of a day or two over the holiday. They are active members of the community for most of the year, should they be alone when the organised events are not happening? Especially as a church community, should we have a wider sense of what that community is?
Dr. Elizabeth Taylor