Irrespective of whether you view Christmas as a very significant religious occasion, a holiday or a highly commercialised break from work, the Festive Season will always offer enjoyment and, of course, that chance for catching up with family and friends. However in terms of how Christmas should perhaps be viewed by all, not withstanding our differences, we need only to look at the traditional version of the Gospel according to St Luke Chapter 2 verses 13–14 which captures a broader message
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
It is probably too great a hope that a focus on these 31 words could bring some stability to our world during these challenging times but hopefully the goodwill which is generated during the whole of the Festive Season will make some stop and think about how difficult life is for many at this time.
For some years, lodges have looked to bring family and friends into their masonic world by holding a short business meeting in December followed by a Festive White Table, usually involving singing of carols, quizzes and games. In many instances these occasions confirm that many Freemasons are far better with the spoken word than those that are sung!
Some lodges, of course, continue to have regular meetings in December and most members who are initiated at the Christmas meeting say that they believe that joining Freemasonry in December has that extra ingredient. It is a view with which I concur.
Whilst the Yuletide meeting of Lodges may not involve a ceremony being performed, the sentiments expressed by St Luke are doubtless reinforced by the fellowship and warmth of spirit which are so evident in the Festive celebrations which form part of the evening.
There are unquestionably many issues on both a global and local basis which are massively difficult to resolve and in some instances seem impossible to tackle.
However, right thinking people will always endeavour to try to ease the difficulties and discomfort currently affecting the lives of many irrespective of the demands it makes on them. We can be confident that English Freemasonry will always be there to offer a helping hand.
Freemasonry in Nottinghamshire sets a fine example of what good men and their families can achieve when working collectively for the benefit of others and I have no doubt that what is clearly an impressive spirit across our Province, will be fully evident in 2024.
Ann and I send to you and your families, our best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
We hope that Santa doesn’t lose your address and that you can easily put your hand on your favourite recipe book - “One hundred uses of leftover turkey”.
Philip G Marshall
Provincial Grand Master