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Emmanuel, God is with us

This time in 2019 I looked at the prospect of 2020 being a different year than it turned out.

Who could have imagined just how different it would be? The beginning of March would soon change our world in just a few weeks. All kinds of businesses regardless of size would be closed all across America. Sporting events would come to a halt. Our country was in lock down and we were wondering how to continue with life.

And then we soon discovered how to continue with life: wearing a mask and trying to figure out just how far 6 feet was so we could stay that far away from each other. When businesses were re-opened, I never thought I would be wearing a mask going into a bank of all places.

Churches were led to consider different ways to worship and do ministry. It continues to be a work in progress. I believe the seeds planted this past year will soon begin to grow. There will be some weeds growing alongside them as well. None of us have ever lived through anything like it before and 50 years from now our grandchildren will tell their grandchildren about this time.

Now Christmas will be in keeping with the rest of our holidays in 2020. So many have been looking to 2021 as a time to “go back to normal.” Sadly, the closer we get to 2021, the signs don’t indicate it will look as different as we had hoped it would.

But the good news we need has been with us all along. If you feel alone, remember that “Emmanuel” means “God with us.” We are never alone even in the worst of times. We may not like what is going on with us or around us, but there is never a time when God is not in our midst.

Our hope as Christians has never changed throughout this entire pandemic. Luke chapter 2 tells us that a baby born in Bethlehem is still the beginning of the greatest story ever told. I hope this Christmas you will be able to put any of your fears and worries aside and celebrate this December.

I remember a couple of years when I was younger that I didn’t catch “the Christmas spirit” until December 25 and wanted it to last when others were ready to put away the decorations, radio stations stopped playing Christmas carols and we were “back to normal.” I was late to the Christmas party. But it’s never too early and never too late to celebrate that God is with us now and will be with us throughout our time on earth.

Emmanuel, God with us, give us all hope this Christmas. A day will come when this pandemic will end and be over, when we can go out freely with no mask, and God will be with us then too, just as God is with us now.