December Pastor's Pen
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel words by John Mason Neale
“Christmas is probably not gonna be possible this year”
That was Sunday, November 15th’s top story after CNN’s Jake Tapper’s interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci. Fauci was talking about the surge in COVID cases that is tampering with the hopes of millions seeking to restore a sense of normality with the upcoming holiday. Fauci said that even with the advent of a vaccine the public “can’t abandon fundamental public health measures.” That prompted Tapper, the Chief Washington correspondent for CNN, to observe that Christmas is “probably not gonna be possible.” Technically speaking, I know what Tapper was suggesting. He was suggesting that many of our beloved American Christmas traditions that involve crowded rooms and places – parades, parties, caroling, services of worship, shopping, to name a few – would best be observed with restraint this calendar year.
But Christmas not possible? I can assure you we can put a halt to all our traditions but that won’t stop Christmas or Jesus from coming. Herod the Great already tried that once!
One of my favorite poems by Ann Barr Weems is called “Christmas Comes.” It’s part of her 1980 collection, Kneeling in Bethlehem, by the Westminster Press. It begins…..
Christmas comes every time we see God in other persons.
The human and the holy meet in Bethlehem or in Times Square,
for Christmas comes like a golden storm – determinedly, inevitably…
Even now it comes
in the face of hatred and warring,
no atrocity too terrible to stop it,
no Herod strong enough,
no hurt deep enough,
no curse shocking enough,
no disaster shattering enough.
Someone on earth will see the star,
someone will hear the angel voices,
someone will run to Bethlehem,
someone will know peace and good will:
the Christ will be born!
I don’t know if we’ll be forced to ungather. I can’t say what Christmas Eve online would be like. I’m not wild about the necessity of masks and social distancing, though I respect why we’re doing them. I have no idea how many will sit at my holiday table.
I just know that the One who is the resurrection and the life resurrected me this year and gave me new life. In my hour of need, nothing prevented Him from coming. So do not let one trace of doubt enter your mind: He will come to a weary people who need Him now more than ever.
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