For me, December means the stress of shopping expeditions, Christmas parties, family gatherings, extra church services. This year, the COVID-19 protocol says, “Stay home!” Will that bring relief? No. I actually love the gift-giving, the parties, and having the family come home. I look forward to the feast, the games, the special services at church. I don’t want relief from all that. How will I celebrate and “stay home?”
I’ll shift my focus from what I can’t do to what I can do. I can decorate my home inside and out. I can add thanksgiving and prayer to the process. My Christmas tree is always beautiful. This year, great grandson, Riley will be crawling so I’ll hang the unbreakable handmade felt bells at the bottom where tiny hands might reach. With each bell, I’ll picture my daughter, (Riley’s grandma) proudly sewing them when she was eight. I’ll bask in my love for her, my pride in the wonderful woman she has become. I’ll give thanks to God, for the joy that fills my heart.
As I hold each of my Christmas angels, I’ll pause to remember the treasured friends they represent. And I’ll pray. As I reread my beloved Christmas books, especially the ones God has called me to write, I’ll give thanks for my faith that has carried me through my life.
And the gifts, for sure, I’ll miss the brightly colored packages and the excitement of tearing them open, but COVID-19 can’t keep me from giving. The internet offers a multitude of places where I can purchase gifts to be shipped almost anywhere in the world. This year, I can give more gifts in honour of my loved ones to charities like the United Church’s “Gifts with Vision,” or “World Vision”, or “KIVA”. This year I can give opportunities for education, starting a business, and more to God’s beloved strangers who have so little. These gifts can add to the world’s peace and embody love.
There will be church on zoom, and YouTube, and even mask to mask outside in some places. The Christmas story will be told, and even acted out. At home I can light candles, read the Bible and pray.
Yes, Christmas 2020 will be different, for sure. We can choose to spend December adding to the pool of joy in the world through gratitude and love. We can trust that this will prepare us to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
Today’s Faith by Rev. Janet Stobie
Janet’s latest book, Breakthrough Moments and all of Janet’s books can be your gifts of Faith to family, friends and strangers. Check them out at www.janetstobie.com. Order from Amazon.ca, or firstname.lastname@example.org.