An empty church. Sadly, that’s been the reality for most of us this year as COVID-19 meant churches were closed. Life in 2020 has become two-dimensional, a flat screen world. My wife and I missed the first three months of our granddaughter’s life, a family wedding and we have not seen our three grandsons for nine months.
We connect via Zoom, FaceTime or social media, but there is no touch, no hug, no hallway or dinner conversations. Our 13-month-old grandson knows us from a screen, and it’s heart-warming having him chat to us, taking the phone from his mother to kiss it! That interaction is precious. But after a while you crave a cuddle or a handshake—a real, live person there with you.
The news has reported others facing even more trying challenges: children unable to see their fathers for months; people unable to minister to their dying parents; and people denied life-saving treatment just a few kilometres away due to border closures—not to mention lost jobs, businesses and lives. COVID-19 has hurt everyone.
At a time when we gather together with family and friends to celebrate, many of us will be apart because of the pandemic. We know this Christmas will feel different. Does the Christmas message have any relevance for the world in a pandemic?
Imagine Jesus, Creator of the universe, confining Himself as a human and entering the world, like each of us, by being born. He came to rescue us from the isolation and quarantine that sin, death and the devil caused. For 33 years, He was quarantined on earth—unable to return to His home and heavenly Father. Jesus made prayer a priority. It wasn’t even two-dimensional—He connected relationally by voice, being heard and hearing God. Imagine how Jesus longed to see and touch the Father and Spirit.
With all its hardships, Jesus’ death and resurrection overcame sin, death and the devil—the issues that isolate us from God. By believing in Him, we’ll be able to see God and be touched by God. We’ll be able to explore life in the universe for eternity because of Jesus’ isolation and quarantine for us. Let’s remember the hope in the real Christmas message.