For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
As Christians we believe every Christmas is a celebration, an acknowledgement that regardless of circumstances we’re assured that Almighty God is on the throne, and Jesus, the Prince of Peace and our Savior, sits at His right hand.
And this year… this year with the unease, strife, disease and even terror hanging like millstones around the neck of all mankind, we are finding particular reason to celebrate.
We are filled with Christmas cheer because we’ll not be broken. We joyfully proclaim, “Merry Christmas!” Our hearts are filled because we’ll not be stopped from our worship.
Not to say the world hasn’t tried to stop us. Some of us have lost loved ones to the pandemic of COVID-19. Many of us have ourselves been struck by the virus. Most of us know someone who has battled or is battling the virus right now.
And all of us have been affected by the disruption of our “normal” lives.
The closure of businesses and schools has rocked our society in ways both seen and unseen. Livelihoods have been lost, some never to recover. Everywhere we go – which for a lot of us is not far from home – we can see the toll in the sad, bewildered eyes of a masked population.
We collectively hear the frustration in voices that rise and fall when talking about the disease, the economy, the political landscape. We all listen to and read so many versions of what’s happening that discerning fact from fancy has become an art form, and we’re not so sure we’ll master it.
While that’s going on all around us, the once stressful\aggravating\patience-straining yet wonderful task of Christmas shopping has become more of an eye-straining exercise with online buying our easiest option. In truth, for many of us it’s the only option.
And this year more than ever funds are less discretionary for a huge part of our country’s citizens. We worry about making our family and friends happy and at the same time worry about paying rent.
And as a nation we long for the time when our biggest worry at Christmastime was if the card table would hold up for another year of grandkids having dinner, if the turkey will feed everyone that’s bound to show up, if the roads will be slick and the ubiquitous black-sheep uncle will refrain from telling off-color jokes.
Oh, the good old days.
But, friends, dark as the times may be, we hold to the Promise made at the beginning of time and fulfilled 2,000 years ago. We read and re-read that verse in Isaiah 9, with the prophesy of Jesus made so clear. And we read more.
“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
And we cling to the Promise.
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We’ve read the Book. We know Who wins not just in this dark time but in all dark times, for all eternity.
And we proclaim, with joy and with assurance, “Merry Christmas!”