EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an excerpt from Chester Gladkowski’s devotional, Have Yourself a Merry COVID Christmas.
One of the hallmarks of the home I grew up in was not talking about anything. One night my mom came home late, dad blew a gasket and yelled at the top of his lungs: we never talked about it. One day my brother who got married several years earlier suddenly moved back into the house: we never talked about it.
I remember coming home one night as a young teenager after having way too much to drink. My “plan” was to unlock the door, take three steps to the stairs, and then crawl up the steps to my bedroom. You’ll notice that I put the word plan in quotes because I failed in the execution of my plan. Instead of taking the three steps forward, I veered to the left and ran into the trophy case, knocking down several of my bowling trophies. We never talked about it.
Now, I’ve been celebrating Christmas for a whole lot of years and I consider myself something of an authority. I’ve never heard anyone talk about Joseph not consummating his marriage as part of the Christmas story. We’ll talk about angels and shepherds till the cows come home. We’ll talk about the wise men till we turn blue. We’ll even talk about the slaughter of the innocent children of Nazareth, as awful and horrific as it was.
But this, never.
It’s something that God could have left out of the story. After all, who was going to know, who was going to tell? Mary and Joseph were the only ones that knew. Who was to be the wiser?
But God purposefully put this into the Christmas story. Since it’s not an accident that it’s included, there is something here that God wants to teach us not only about that first Christmas, but about this first COVID Christmas.
Could it be that God has a purpose for you being alive during this COVID Christmas? It’s no accident that you are alive today, and he knows every detail about your situation, your fears, your hurts, your anger, your confusion.
If God knew this intimate detail about Mary and Joseph, then he’s fully aware of what you’re going through right now. It’s no mystery to God, there is nothing hidden about you from him, even your most intimate and private thought and feelings.
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. ~ Psalm 139:1-2
Think about it:
- God has searched you – he’s not afraid of your past.
- God has known you – he’s not unaware of how you feel.
- God has detailed you – he’s not lost any facts about you.
- God has perceived you – he’s not missing any of your thoughts.
If God knows all this and more, and still loves us, then why are we so afraid to be honest with him?
If this COVID Christmas teaches us anything, let it convince us once and for all that God’s love is deep. Deep enough to answer all the tough questions, all the unasked questions about our past, present, and future.
“Have Yourself a Merry COVID Christmas” was written as a journey through the Christmas story and its application during this season of the coronavirus pandemic. With everything going on with COVID-19, predictions of new infectious waves, delays of a safe vaccine, not to mention what’s going on in our country, maybe we need Christmas more than ever. It’s designed for people who may celebrate Christmas but perhaps don’t know the underlying meaning and significance. Its purpose is something that you can share with friends, coworkers, neighbors, people on your last Zoom meeting, just about anyone in order to open up a conversation about faith. Have Yourself A Merry COVID Christmas is available at Amazon.com