22 Dec “Emmanuel – God With Us” by Melissa Mitchell
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
You might be familiar with these well known lines from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It comes after the Grinch had stolen all the decorations, presents, and food from the village of Whoville. He expected the residents to be sad, disappointed and very unmerry. Instead he is astonished by the singing he hears coming from Whoville, Christmas had come after all. Even without all the trappings of the season.
With Covid in our midst it might feel a little like a Grinchy Christmas. So many cancellations, so many changes. Most children aren’t in school, no Christmas concerts or plays. Parties are cancelled, no gatherings with extended family. Travel plans are postponed and our Christmas Eve service won’t be the same.
As you know, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. CCF has been doing an advent study which has done an excellent job of reminding me of the truth of advent – the preparation of Jesus’ birth and his ultimate return to earth.
“But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:13
However, Christmas is also an important cultural and family holiday as well. It is understandable to be disappointed with all the changes this year. I guess, like most things this year, what do we do with that disappointment? You might have become sort of a pro at this point, making adaptations and changes, you know – the whole lemons out of lemonade. Or you might just be TIRED. Weary of trying to make the best of a tough situation. That is understandable. Most likely you might be like me, swinging between the two mindsets depending upon the day and circumstances!
It has been a year of waiting, waiting for the Covid numbers to get better, for kids to return to school, now waiting for a vaccine, waiting for NORMAL to return. It can be hard to wait. God is with us in the waiting. He is with us each step of the way. Giving us hope, peace, and joy. Waiting for us to accept and receive it. One of my favorite words is often thought of as a Christmas word – Emmanuel.
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1:23
I pray that you will experience a joyous Christmas despite it of the hard things that 2020 has brought us. Most of all I pray that you will remember that through it all – Emmanuel, God is with us.