A Covid Christmas
Christmas is one of the busiest seasons of the year. Family gatherings, Christmas festivities, the hustle and bustle of gift-giving—the fast-paced nature can send us into anxiety, only to be relieved on Christmas day itself…sometimes.
This year, with the global pandemic of COVID-19, things will look very different. The gatherings are limited, plays canceled, parties absolved. With the norm being stripped down to the minimum, this will be a good time to test what Christmas has always meant to you. Will this year prove depressing because of canceled plans or will Christmas still give joy to your soul?
This might remind some of the film, A Charlie Brown Christmas. In the classic movie, Charlie Brown knows he should be happy during Christmastime, but just isn’t. He starts to see commercialism as the problem. He knows what Christmas shouldn’t be about—self-centeredness and materialism—but he just can’t put his finger on what Christmas is about! You might be asking the same question—there has to be something more to Christmas.
As believers, we realize Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ. But have you truly internalized this fact? When you think of Christmas, do you only picture the material/physical representations of a winter festival? And now that those things have been minimalized due to COVID-19, are you grappling with what your heart truly believes about Christmas? There is hope. In the added stillness of this year, you can redeem the time with contemplation. This is a primed, forced rest that God allowed our world to go through.
Do not waste it!
So what is Christmas all about? Linus answers Charlie Brown’s question as he quotes Luke 2:8-14, which says:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 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, goodwill toward men.
Jesus came for all people. We know in John 3:16 that God loved the world so much that He gave us His Son! That means you, your family, your friends, and neighbors—the Lord came to give everyone hope and purpose and joy. Christmas is a time to celebrate the gift of Jesus’ life to us, individually and as humanity.
Think of the sacrifice that God, an infinite and holy being, made in order to dwell with His creation. He not only lived a human experience for 33 years, He suffered pains and temptations just like the rest of us. He can fully sympathize with our grief. And He lived that life not only for the world but for you. And why? Why did He have to come and die? He came to satisfy the wrath of a holy God.
Jonah, when running away from God’s leadership via boat, suffered through a storm. The sailors on this ship felt as if the storm was brought by God Himself against them. They realized there was someone on the boat who had angered God. Jonah knew the Lord had found him and was displaying His fury.
Jonah volunteered to be cast off the ship and into the sea to appease the storm and the God who had caused it. In the same way, we are all weathered by the storms of sin because of our guilt before God. Instead of someone being thrown off, Jesus stops the storm coming against you and I by throwing Himself into the sea.
This is what Christmas is about—your redemption. Take heart that when the frivolous treats of Christmas are gone and the parties give way, you have been granted God’s Son in your place.
COVID-19 cannot take away Christmas, it never could.