Not Your Normal Christmas

As I planned for this year’s Christmas celebration with my family, it never occurred to me:
  • to schedule into the day a 4-hour drive to meet my 24-year-old son in his apartment parking lot while standing 15 feet away from him because he has Covid.
  • other members of my family would not be able to visit their mom, sisters and nephews because they too just received a diagnosis of Covid.

On this festive family day, besides my own family, there are many Covid positive people who are in solitary. There are families who have lost loved ones to the virus, or cancer, or accidents, or other reasons. There are families in crisis, addicts in their daily struggle, people who are hungry…for food or for love. I say all this not to bring things down, but rather to celebrate the silly, pointed way that God spoke into my day…

If you have seen the classic cartoon The Grinch, you know the evil green Grinch set out to steal the joy of the Whos down in Who-ville. The Grinch was jealous of the joy that he saw in the celebrants as they prepared for Christmas Day. He was so envious that it prompted him to lash out. He did just as he planned: He stole all of their food, gifts and decorations thinking that this would pierce their hearts, and they would become cold-hearted, angry and resentful in the absence of the hallmarks of the occasion. He learned, however, that the joy that the Whos had could not be taken away! Their joy didn’t come from the stuff, it came from the love for one another that the stuff represented. Christmas represents JESUS!! God’s gift of His coming down to earth to spend a human lifetime with man. Emmanuel – “God with us!”

If we ever stop to focus on the negative situations that we are surrounded with, we can get awfully mired down in the heaviness of it. But Jesus says “Cast your burdens on the Lord for He cares for you” 1 Peter  5:7. “Come to me you who labor and are heavy laden down and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. Jesus came to live among us to tell us that He loves us, and then to show us just how much, by giving His life so that we can live forever! NOTHING can take away that wonderful gift. We can cling to it in the worst of times. THAT is JOY! Joy is not happiness in our current circumstances, but rather is the hope of that which we are promised will come … a life in heaven, with Jesus, forever. Amen and hallelujah!

As my son, feeling very ill, leaned into the trunk of our car to take out the gifts we brought, he also had to fight with the wind to keep the wrapping paper nearby. My husband and I were standing far away cheering for him and video-taping the bizarre, funny, heart-wrenching scene. I was struck by the similarity of our human circumstances and that of the vandalized Whos. Despite the evil one’s attempts to steal our joy, Christmas came. Jesus still came. No matter our circumstances, He came just the same! Jesus offers His gift to us, and He stands and waits for us who are sick in our sin, lonely and/or burdened, to take it.

As we give and open gifts this holiday season, I pray you can be with your loved ones. But if not, remember there is One who is with us always so we are never alone. He loves us so, and we can celebrate His gift, the greatest of all gifts, each and every day.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7
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