What does Christmas mean to you?
Many people have been worried about Christmas this year – I’ve even heard people say that Christmas is cancelled.
This is, of course, due to the pandemic and the restrictions we find ourselves living under.
With the limit of three households, it will be difficult to have the big gatherings that we are used to. For many families, Christmas will be different this year. However, Christmas is not cancelled…
As a Christian, Christmas for me is more than just a day to eat turkey, open presents, play games and watch the Queen’s message. Christmas is a time to celebrate because it reminds us that God came into the world and lived with us. Christmas is when we remember the birth of Jesus.
In the Bible, we read how Jesus was born in Bethlehem. His parents, Joseph and Mary, had travelled there to take part in a census in Joseph’s home town. The Bible also tells us how shepherds and wise men were told of his birth – they came to visit him and worship him as the Son of God.
But the story doesn’t end there. Jesus lived on earth – he grew to be a man and showed us how to love others by living alongside them. This is what we celebrate as Christians – that God is not distant but remembers us and is with us in every aspect of our lives.
When the Wise Men visited Jesus after his birth in Bethlehem, they brought gifts. At Christmas, many of us give and receive gifts – a symbol of the love we have for family and friends. We are reminded of the many good things God gives, and of the need to share them, not only with our family and friends, but with the whole world. And that’s a good message for us all to remember at Christmas, especially this year.
For this reason, we try to get alongside people through the work we do and show them some of the love that God shows us. That is why The Salvation Army helps others in our community by providing food, gifts and toy parcels – not just at Christmas but throughout the year.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have donated money, gifts or toys to this year’s Christmas Appeal. I am so grateful for the public’s consistent support that allows us to continue to serve the Wetherby community.
I am particularly grateful for our partnership with Wetherby & District Food Bank which enabled us to provide food parcels, plus the generous support received from Wetherby Lions, Wetherby Morrisons, St Mary’s Boston Spa and Wetherby High School which enabled us to provide gift and toy parcels.
This has been an incredibly challenging year and yet I have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown by our local community in making sure that others have what they need at Christmas.
May you know God’s love, joy and peace as you celebrate Christmas this year.
Lieutenant Yvonne West
Wetherby Salvation Army
Chair of Churches Together in Wetherby, Linton & Collingham