This Christmas season, most people are sick and tired of hearing how different, challenging, and unusual this year we call 2020 has been. Therefore, this article will discuss how unusual, challenging, and different Christmas 2020 has been so far.
Christmases past — the beautiful years of Norman Rockwell paintings, carolers caroling under every lamppost, snow gently falling, a snowman or Rudolf in every yard, and a feeling of bliss in every heart. Well, maybe not all that, but that is how we like to remember them.
As a child, I would fall asleep listening for the sleighbells on the roof. I never heard them. I can still remember the excitement when my sister, eleven years my senior, told me she heard them.
My family did not materialize Christmas. We had all the usual stuff. Decorations were not fancy; the tree and a lit-up Santa on the door. Being the youngest of three and nearly a decade between my youngest sibling and me, I was the baby and probably more spoiled than the others.
Yet, under the tree every year were gifts consisting of play clothes and one toy. Back when it mattered, what you whore where — we would get school clothes a week before school started, then play clothes came at Christmas. We did not purchase clothing at any time for the rest of the year. Patches came when needed.
Christmas seems to change with significant life changes. It changes when we move away from home, get married, have children, and become empty nesters.
Unlike any other Christmas, this one has changed for almost everyone. As I write this, it is still a few days before Christmas, but something happened in the Christmas 2020 season that, for me, is unforgettable.
Our church went caroling this year. Instead of strolling down the local nursing homes’ hallways signing those beloved Christmas hymns, we walked outside the building. We stopped at every window with open blinds and sang. We received many waves and smiles while singing outside that building.
There was more than a love for Christmas. On their faces was the warmth of human attention.
One woman picked up her phone and waved it at us. We called the nursing home, they connected us to her room, and we sang. A dozen of us into one phone, standing in the cold outside someone’s window. She was giddy.
The nurses made sure we went around the outside of the COVID wing. One nurse said, “These people are treated like they have the plague.” Most in the COVID wing was unresponsive. One man laid there, never moved as we sang. After a couple of songs, we started to move on. Suddenly, he lifted his hand and pointed skyward. Several of us teared up. I could not help but wonder how soon it would be before he would watch us from up there.
Yes, the Christmas of 2020 is different from all others, but one thing is sure – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Whether a person has no gifts under the tree, or if they get tired of opening presents because there is so many, the truth is – the Babe in the manger is God With Us to save us from our sins.
Enough of me talking about my Christmases past and present; here is the story of what Christmas is all about:
Luke 2:1-20, “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
“To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
“And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”