The newest variant of this virus, that has gripped the world since early 2020, once again threatens our Christmas traditions and celebrations. While we hope and pray we will be able to continue to gather together with family and friends and as a community of faith, we also recognize the unknown nature of this variant may yet lead to more measures to protect us--not a place any of us want to go, particulary this time of the year.
For Janice and me, this is indeed "a different Christmas". While there is great hopefulness with Noah and Luke, there is still a cloud of uncertainty about where they will be on Christmas morning; perhaps still in the NICU at Women's Hospital in Vancouver, perhaps in the NICU at Kelowna General Hosptial, or dare we even think, maybe even 'home for Christmas'? We continue to covet your prayers to that end! We celebrate the progress they have made and rejoice in God's grace to them, but we know Christmas this year will be different. Add to that, still unanswered questions about a personal health matter, and we must confess Christmas just isn't the same this year.
But...in the words of the song writer, I still believe in Christmas, that God so loved this broken world, He sent His only Son (John 3:16). He left his home in heaven to make heaven my home; my Emmanuel is with me and I'll never be alone. I still believe in healing for the weary and the hurt; and in a world that's so divided, I still believe in peace on earth. I still believe that love is strong enough to conquer hate; and in a world that won't believe it, I still believe enough to say, God so loved this broken world He sent His only Son. (I Still Believe in Christmas by Anne Wilson)
Every year at Christmas, regardless of what is happening in the world around us, we come back to the wonder and beauty of the baby born in Bethlehem; to the awe-inspiring truth of the incarnation; that God sent His Son to redeem lost mankind, to reconcile us to the Father. The Christmas story reminds us, we are loved by God. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
For me, if I can bask in the wonder of such love, if I can hold on by faith to the truth that I am the beloved of the Father, if I can rest in the peace and joy I find in Christ, then "a different Christmas" cannot steal away the hope that is ours in Jesus Christ.
We might not find much in this world to believe in, but...I still believe in Jesus, the name above all names. (I Still Believe in Christmas by Anne Wilson)
May God help us to believe, and in believing may we be seized again by the wonder and joy of Christmas!