In many respects, we have come to terms with some kinds of restrictions over the last two years or so. We have changed the way we work, shop, meet, and entertain ourselves, as variations of the COVID-19 virus have put our healthcare system on the brink of total collapse. Indeed many of these changes have become second nature and habit for us, regardless of whether we like it or not. Yet there is a feeling that no matter what we do, it doesn’t feel like we can get ahead of this virus and the restrictions put in place to curb its effects. This is so painfully evident as we prepare for one of the great feasts of the Church; Christmas
We still can’t come together the way we had hoped to at this time, when we instinctively are drawn to be with our families. We still can’t come together as brothers and sisters in Christ and to bring our sacrifice of “mercy and peace” to our Saviour as he lies in a manger. It all feels so unfair and unjustified, especially as many of us are vaccinated, and/or take to heart the protocols and procedures that have safeguarded our communities. Yet here we are, having to juggle our schedules, and find ways to accommodate various family events, let alone our attendance at Church. But in it all, we have to remember that as unfair and unjustified as this might be, or feel like, this all falls short of the world that the Lord entered into as a newborn child.
What is more unfair than the blessed Theotokos, a young woman in labor having to travel to a strange town in the dead and darkness of winter? Or unjust than being relegated to give birth in a stable? What is more dismissive than the Lord of Glory, our Saviour Jesus Christ, having to enter into humanity as a defenseless child surrounded by livestock? Well nothing! We tend to sanitize the whole Nativity in the flesh of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ with bright lights, and a comfy rustic environment that is warm and inviting. Yet the reality is quite different if we see it, as it is described in scripture.
The King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, enters this world as a human in the darkness, that we might see the “Light of the world” and that we might not “walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”(Jn. 8:12). He enters the world in the cold of winter, He might baptize us “with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Lk. 3:16). He enters the world as a stranger that we might be called “friends” (Jn. 15:14) He enters the world amid mute beasts so that we might “speak to the people all the words of this life.” (Act. 5:20). He enters into the muck and filth of our broken and mortal nature, that we might “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”(Heb. 10:22)
Truly He sees our frustration, our loneliness, our relegation, and isolation at this time, and acts as he has done for every generation; by entering into it. This should not be a surprise for us who are Christians, rather the circumstances of this pandemic should reveal with all the more spendor and wonder the love that God has for us. Unfair, and unjust as it all might be, we live in a world that turned itself away from God, Yet God has not turned Himself away from us. On the contrary he goes so far as to enter its broken fray, that we might be saved eternally.
May we strive all the more to see this miracle especially now.