Christmas: in 2020 is it still ‘the most wonderful time of the year’?
It’s the most wonderful time of the year … Or is it?
For many, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years in a very long time. The coronavirus pandemic changed the way we live, it changed the way we work, the way we learn and the way we worship.
For many, it changed the way we believe too. This year either challenged faith or strengthened it – maybe it did both.
They say that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) This year has tested our collective faith as we could not, and still do not, see an end to the pandemic.
But for believers – people who acknowledge the presence of a power greater than us in our lives – having faith in something we cannot see is not new. In fact, it is the very foundation of our belief.
Over the last 38 weeks, as Bermuda has navigated this pandemic, I have been privileged to share the stories of people of faith who have grown closer to the God of their understanding and to their purpose, even amid this horrible global pandemic. Their stories are truly evidence of things not seen and provide substance to give us hope for the future.
But for others these 38 weeks have been marred with sickness, unemployment, bereavement and uncertainty. Many are grieving the loss of their normal lives and are struggling to believe that things will get better.
On our tiny island nearly 500 people have tested positive for Covid-19; nine of them have died. Businesses have closed or struggled to stay open. People have lost their livelihood. Students have fallen behind in their studies. Parents have just about lost their patience.
As the holiday season quickly approaches, it may be a challenge for some to rejoice. Yet, I believe we could all use a little hope after the year we have had together. We all could use something to celebrate – something to bring us joy. After all, is not our faith made for times like these?
Last night Jews observed the Festival of Lights, or Hannukah, remembering the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. This week over 2 billion Christians around the world are preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ, their Messiah and Saviour. Next week others will observe Kwanza and celebrate unity, community and purpose. And still there are some of us who will just merely delight in the love of family and close friends.
The usual hustle and bustle of this season has shifted. The holiday parties won’t happen, and church services won’t be the same on Zoom. But the reason for the season – whatever your belief is – has not changed at all.
The reason has always been hope. Hope for peace on earth and good will towards men, the hope of equality and justice, the hope of freedom from oppression, the hope of a better tomorrow; a better world. It’s this hope in the midst of hopelessness that has carried humanity through so many dark times.
May those of us fortunate enough to be reading this still find something to celebrate in the midst of so much uncertainty – even if it is simply celebrating surviving this year with our health, and our faith intact.
May your faith be strengthened as it is stretched and may abundance and joy be your future. This is my hope and prayer for you this holiday season.