Christmas in COVID-Time
Christians have celebrated the Savior’s birth in all sorts of hard circumstances, beginning with the very first Christmas. Centuries of beautiful Nativity scenes have accustomed us to think of that moment as rich in peace and piety, not only for the Holy Family, the shepherds, and the Magi, but even for animals and all of Creation. And no doubt it was, which is why we’re right to indulge in a little of what the Scrooges of the world dismiss as “sentimentality” during this season. But it’s also worth remembering that it couldn’t have been easy for a woman late in pregnancy to travel, under orders from an alien empire, in the depth of winter; or normal – even in those days – to have to lay a newborn in a manger, which is to say a livestock feeder. If it was, Luke would not have bothered to mention it.
And that, like everything connected with the story of Jesus, was as it should be. We who have endured this annus apocalypticus MMXX, are more than ever aware of the evils in the world that were – and are – the reason for His coming, and continued presence among us.
Wars, divisions, hatred, envy, greed, foolishness still flourish. Our very attempts to remedy the evils in the world are, inevitably, tainted by the evils in our hearts. And yet, through various times even darker than our own, a light was established among us. In spite of everything, it changed and continues to change the world.