Christmas time usually marks the ending of a year. The beginning of another year is right around the corner. Traditionally, most children are off from school for a two-week period. When they leave school for the holidays, their papers are dated with the current year’s date. When they return, they should remember that the calendar has turned over and they must use a new date. Letter writers and journal keepers must change the year’s date as well. If you still write checks to pay your bills, you must also pay attention to the fact that the previous year is behind you. During the Christmas season, families get together and catch up. Conversations often turn to the accomplishments or the disappointments of the past year. Within a week, they are off and running into the New Year.
What about Christmas of 2020? What is there to celebrate? This year, depending on where you live, it is even possible that it will be against the law to have your usual large family gatherings for a Christmas celebration. The children may not have their two-week holiday – they may have instead been homeschooled through the year and by this time are very tired of being at home. With a worldwide pandemic, lost businesses, skyrocketing unemployment and dramatically reduced hours and wages, untold financial crises, unpredictable (even more so than usual) stock markets, dramatic cultural shifts, a surge in lawlessness and the growing uncertainty that it will all end anytime soon, what good news can we reflect on at the end of 2020?
I have never experienced a year like this one and I suspect you haven’t either. Now more than ever, we need the reminder that there IS good news. With politicians fighting tooth and nail for every inch of control – even taking advantage of a global pandemic – we need to remember that God IS in control.
Our reason for celebrating Christmas has not changed. Jesus really is the reason we can rejoice. Then the angel said unto them,“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which will be to all people“(Luke 2:10). He IS the good news. He offers salvation to those who trust in Him. He has not been surprised by anything that has happened this year. God has not changed. God has not moved. God has not forgotten His people. God has been actively involved and He has been watching. He knows and He cares.
This Christmas – the reminder that God in the flesh arrived on site to stand next to those He created and loves – should perhaps be our most meaningful Christmas ever. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14). How anyone has made it through this year without Christ is beyond my imagination. I have witnessed those who have gone through many struggles this year and true believers are actually very calm and peaceful. They know and so do I – that peace on earth does not mean the absence of conflict and trials, but the presence of God through difficulties. When He promised to be with us, He meant it and that is all we need. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b).
©Stephanie B. Blake