“She wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough” Luke 2:7
This will be the world’s first Covid Christmas. Instead of families driving and flying across the land to spend a precious weekend or week together, sharing those special moments around the table that is laden with bowls and platters of all our favorite foods, we shall be limited to another couple or, depending on your state, a maximum of seven people.
It’s not fair, we think, after all, it’s our own family and we wear masks and keep social distances. The fear of spreading this virus has ruined the most special time of the year.
But has it? Has it really? Or are we like a child, pouting because we can’t get our way?
Although not every family celebrates the birth of Christ as the central focus of Christmas, any family considers this a special, loving, hopeful time of year. An opportunity to come together with friends and family. For some, a time to take food to others less fortunate, sharing delicious plates and bowls of nourishment in the name of love; the name of Christ.
The actual birth of Christ seems to have been less than festive with less than perfect circumstances. God decided His Son, the Messiah, the Savior of the world, should be born in a stable, in a feeding trough, in anonymity. And, in keeping with God’s often mysterious ways, He sent an angel to announce Christ’s birth to a few shepherds out in a field.
Imagine, if you will, a few isolated men, watching over their flocks, accustomed to a solitary existence, perhaps sitting around a fire cooking dinner when this happened, “Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified!”
Scared out of their wits, they hear the angel say, “Don’t be afraid, for I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: today a Savior who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”
As the shepherds are processing what the angel said, God dazzles them further, “Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!
These men had never seen such a magnificent display of God’s power and yet, judging by their response, it seems they had processed this astonishing event well.
“When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.
“They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby lying in the manger. After seeing him the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.” ~Luke, Chapter 2
Today, more than 2,000 years after Christ’s birth, God is still speaking to His followers and giving us encouragement, even if it is anonymously out in a field somewhere. Covid has changed most of the world but cannot alter our faith in Christ the Savior. Let us celebrate His birth this Christmas.