Christmas this year will be a challenge for most of us. Months ago, we were hoping, and praying, that Covid 19 would be gone by December. Not to be. As Christmas drew nearer, we knew that we’d have to reinvent, deconstruct, or simplify our plans for Christmas. It just wasn’t going to be like Christmases past.
If there’s one thing this pandemic has taught us, it’s this: we’re definitely not in control of our lives, nor the world we live in.
I suppose it’s a wake-up call we all direly need — even the “holiest” of us. Because, let’s face it, our illusions of self-sufficiency grow bigger the more successful we become. Until God is reduced to just a holy accessory, a sacred decor that adorns our lives and makes us look fashionably spiritual. Why, some of us have even made a career of being “godly.”
I’ve heard that even pagans celebrate Christmas. A friend of mine used to say that she met pagans in church every Sunday. They didn’t know they were pagans because they sincerely thought they were Christians. She said it matter-of-factly. Not condescendingly. I used to wonder — what in the world did my friend mean? What a disturbing, nebulous comment. But I never bothered to ask her to explain herself.
Now I know better. When I trust mainly in my own abilities, resources, and connections to solve or accomplish or attain something, then I’m a pagan at heart. When I largely claim credit for something I’ve accomplished (even if I feign humility and say otherwise), I’m Godless. Variants of that would be being an atheist or an agnostic at heart.
Anytime we remove God from our life equation, we’re thinking like a pagan. Bottom line, it’s what we truly believe inside us that makes us Christian or pagan, after all.
Hence we have pagans running around thinking that they’re Christians just because they go to church. Hence we have pagans who have elaborate plans for celebrating Christmas each year, juggling time between their wives and mistresses. Hence we have people who receive communion during Simbang Gabi, knowing full well that they are going to get totally wasted on something, or get dead drunk that evening.
I’m hoping that Christmas in the time of Covid will change all that. After all, one shouldn’t be cavalier and thoughtless about life if one knows that a deadly virus is lurking in the air, looking for something to land on, latch on to, and sometimes, kill.
The wretched thing about this virus is that it sometimes tortures slowly… before it kills. It’s sordid and unpredictable. It evolves, maybe. It seems to come in different strains. Even if you’ve had it, you can get it again. So there’s no guaranteed immunity. You can recover from it but maybe there’ll be permanent damage in your system. Maybe the vaccines will work. Maybe they won’t. Maybe the virus is man-made. Maybe it’s a fluke of nature. Maybe it’s here to stay. Maybe it’ll be gone by next year.
So many maybes.
Surely, God allowed this virus to stop us dead in our tracks. Huge buildings are suddenly hollow and empty. Pockets were emptied. Businesses crashed. Even taipans were saddled with losses. Power suddenly weakened, or lost its grip. People addicted to travel had to go on withdrawal — and stay home. We all saw our plans unravel.
God needed to remind us about Who’s really in control.
Christmas is a major way to circumvent Covid. You can choose to celebrate Jesus in the midst of Covid. You can choose to change your priorities in life: put God first.
Your spouse, second (if you’re married).
Your parents, second (if you’re single).
Your children, third (if you have kids).
Your work, fourth.
The rest of your family, friends, your hobbies, sports & recreation, advocacies, etc., fifth.
If we follow these priorities, life will have order, purpose, peace — no matter what our circumstances may be. If people don’t follow these priories, even the wealthiest ones will be lost, and will lose everything, in the end.
If we spend Christmas intentionally honoring Jesus, and fully committing our lives to Him, we will circumvent Covid. We will circumvent any trial, any suffering, any tragedy that comes our way.
Covid should be a grave reminder to us that our lives are not in our hands — no matter how intelligent or technologically-advanced we think we are. We are still just created beings, after all.
Christmas should remind us that our Creator, our Healer, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is the ultimate problem-solver. He’s the King of kings. Nothing is too difficult for Him.
If we surrender our lives to Him, we win. In fact, regardless of our circumstances, we’ve already won, if we put Jesus in control of our lives.