While I was looking for Christmas ornaments online today I found this one. My sentiments exactly: “2020 stink stank stunk!”
It has happened already. Our family Thanksgiving celebration was impacted by covid. Usually my mother comes to stay at our home and we enjoy an extended weekend together celebrating her birthday as well as Thanksgiving. We often have a good crowd of 15 or so at our table. However since my mom is 92 years old and both our daughters teach young children in person daily, that large of a gathering was too much of a risk. Christmas does not promise to be much better. Isolation, fear, uncertainty has taken a toll on the most wonderful time of the year.
But like the story of the Grinch, I remember that no illness or hardship or isolation can take away this holy day. Matter of fact, isn't the story of Jesus’ birth really about hardship and isolation? Mary and Joseph had great hardship as they traveled to a place far from their home. Plus Mary was in her final stages of pregnancy. I wonder, did she travel alone with Joseph, isolated from her mother, aunts, sisters and cousins who could have encouraged her, comforted her, directed and helped her as she gave birth for the first time? As her time came, she gave birth in a manger, really it was a cave, surrounded by animals and hay and cow dung. Finally, Mary’s story of giving birth as a virgin was something only believed by Joseph due to the divine intervention of a dream. It was considered “fake news” by many even today.
The story of the first Christmas reminds us that the coming of Christ is not about decorations and presents. It is not about comfort and parties. It is about hope and light in the darkness. When we recall the truth of His story and we treasure it in our hearts, it is a light that no one and nothing can extinguish.
Not even covid.
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this Child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:16-20)