As we begin to celebrate Christmas and beyond to the Baptism of Jesus, there are many symbolic stories and events that become eye-openers for all of us. Some of these may be a first, and the rest of us wipe away a tear as Ebenezer Scrooge has a turn-around on Christmas day, or George Bailey discovers that Life is indeed Good.
During this pandemic where thousands are dying daily, millions are out of work, and too many businesses are closing permanently, we question what the future holds. If you are one of those unfortunate persons who has lost a loved one, been out of work for who knows how long, or one that struggles to keep your employees with minimal or no work at all, the celebration of a Merry Christmas may be difficult to share.
When the prophets predicted a king that God would send to change the terrible events the Hebrews were experiencing, hope became the by-word that would forever become reality. On a night of mystery, where shepherds were tending their sheep, an announcement to them from angels singing “Glory to God and Peace to all” was sung, the Son of God was born, Incarnate to humanity and the hope the Jews held in their hearts was given for all time.
Our hope is that the vaccines will at least stall the spread of Covid-19, and begin to ease the death rate by putting everything back to normal as quickly as possible. This is not the first time in human history that plagues have set us back on our heels as science scurried for a cure.
We depend on the medical association throughout the world to come up with a solution, but we must also depend on God to be a part of the solution. When we sing and wish good cheer to all, let us be mindful that when Jesus was born the world didn’t change over night. People were still in their sins and the armies under King Herod, and the clutches of Rome were still prevalent. However, Hope was the by-word and that has never changed. The greatest gift we can share with each other is prayer.
With the characters in the story “A Christmas Carol”, Scrooge shared hope, and those who cheered George Bailey in Bedford Falls as he returned home to a loving community found hope. We should do the same!
Ralph B. Hathaway, Christmas 2020