By David Sandvick
Corona Christmas 2020 — will it be one we remember or one we’d rather forget? As our country continues to see very high Covid numbers and the hospitals remain at capacity, how will we celebrate Christmas this year?
I think it’s safe to say that Christmas parties with co-workers, church groups, and other such staples of the season are out. Churches will not be able to “pack ’em in” this year and still maintain that distance that we are told is so important. At my own church, we are back to virtual services and will not be holding in-person Christmas Eve services due to so many people we know contracting the virus. Some may interpret these decisions as canceling Christmas.
Let me be clear, Christmas will not be canceled. Some aspects of our celebrations may be, but the amazing story of the birth of Jesus will still ring out. We will still sing, decorate, give, ponder, and live out the joy that is Christmas.
It will, however, likely be more like that first Christmas with Mary, Joseph, and a new baby celebrating quietly together. Certainly, some excited shepherds did drop by, and angels filled the night sky at one point, but mostly it was a silent night. A holy night. A night to be remembered.
My prayer for all of us this year is that Christmas will be one to be remembered, not forgotten. Some churches will still hold special services; others will encourage members to stay home with families just this once. In any case, we will celebrate.
We will anticipate. We will worship. Christmas will not, cannot be canceled for any reason. It will shout the news that Christ is born! It will center us on a savior in Bethlehem. It will fill us with God’s love and joy. It will give us hope for better days to come.
Make this a Christmas to be remembered and even though it may be a silent night, make it a holy night.
David Sandvick is the pastor of First English Baptist Church in Frostburg, Maryland