The great leader Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt in an act of liberation. The people had been slaves to the Egyptians and in the biblical book Exodus we read what a struggle Moses had to convince his people that going out into the wilderness was the right thing to do. The people wanted to return all the time to what they had as slaves. They longed to return to what they knew!
People tend not to like change; often it has to be forced on to them. They prefer what they know. So, after ten months of a pandemic, understandably, people wish to return to life as it was. No one knows what this new year will bring: are there signs of hope, or is there a continuation of the upheavals of 2020. One thing to be sure of, I think, is that nothing will be the same. That’s very disturbing for people and it comes with a lot of fear.
When Jesus arrived in the story the natural response, especially when seeing the night sky lit up with an army of angels, was to be afraid. The Angel of the Lord speaks and says – “Fear not!” Easier said than done, but today, we need to hear that voice of calm. Yes, nothing will be the same and the new strain of virus is very scary and lots of people will be affected if they don’t stick to the rules – stay at home as much as possible, keeping masked up when out, keeping our distance and keep washing our hands. The effect of the pandemic is putting enormous strain – even fit to busting – on the NHS; so, in the short term we must stick to this importantstrategy. But in the long term, should we not be looking at what this period of upheaval is teaching us? About care of one another, of care of the planet and of appreciating and rejoicingin the marvellous people serving us in the hospitals and out in the community. We have needed to change for some time now and perhaps we are learning what those changes might be.