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The Christmas No One Wanted in 2020

Photo by Dan Kiefer on Unsplash

My friend Adam and I this weekend were texting back forth about this tweet.

Tweet from Adrian Gibbs on December 16th

2020 has brought a heaviness to a regularly joyful season. In this year, we have walked through a pandemic, racial reckoning, job losses, contested elections, disrupted routines, and added doses of fear and anxiety for our children. As a pastor, I’m well aware that many who walked through divorces, painful conflicts with loved ones, and health issues outside of the Coronavirus.

I don’t walk through this Christmas season glibly. I realize that many reading this post would label 2020 “The Christmas No One Wanted.”

If you read the account of the Christmas stories in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, you encounter a strange similarity to 2020.

Let’s start here. Most likely, 300–400 years passed through the end of the Old & New Testament. Generations of people lived in the relative silence of God. They heard the stories of Adam, Abraham, Moses, and David living in a shell of that time. By this time we enter the New Testament, most of the readers lived under Roman occupation.

Jesus enters a world full of darkness, chaos, and controversy. Mary, his mother, experienced a miracle in the immaculate conception but most likely had the shame of a baby out of wedlock. Mary and Joseph also had to walk by foot from Nazareth to Bethlehem for a foreign ruler’s census.

If you asked Mary and Joseph, I wonder if they would say label their story, “The Christmas they didn’t want either.”

2020 has disturbed us individually. Each of us has had to walk through a level of disappointment, grief, and somberness this year. That truth allows us to have more compassion rather than less.

So, we find ourselves amid Christmas, the happiest time of the year. As Adrian Gibbs points out, it seems trite to throw out shallow cliches from the past year. On the other hand, our church Fathers and Mothers placed the celebration of Christmas in December because they knew we would need a light in the darkness of winter.

As I texted with Adam this weekend, one thing became apparent — we think we want happiness and comfort when in reality, we’re searching for joy and hope. Those terms are not mere semantics but rather reflect the shallowness and depth of this season. We want joy rooted in an unshakeable hope despite the bleakness of the world around us.

The Good News of Christmas invites us to such joy and hope. Jesus leaves the riches of heaven to live in a bleak world. He embraces pain and suffering to identify with us. We need the message of “Emmanuel, God with us” because Jesus knows more than we realize the 2020s of our lives.

Hope and joy invite you to grieve rather than deny reality, and it invites you to experience a Savior with you in this season.

Adam sent me this prayer that his pastor prays over the congregation every week that I think is very applicable in a 2020 Christmas. Let this prayer guide you to Jesus in the various emotions of this week:

So friends, remember that life is short and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who journey with us. So be swift to love and make haste to be kind, and may the blessing of God who made you, who loves you, and who travels with you be with you now and forever.

Encouraging, empowering, and entertaining. In Christ.

Originally published at https://peterenglert.com on December 21, 2020.

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Stories by Christian writers to encourage, entertain, and empower you in your faith, food, fitness, family, friendship, and fun.

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Peter Englert

Peter Englert

Adult Ministries Director @Browncroft . Host on @WGWPodcast. Married to @RobynEnglert | Subscribe to my blog ➡️ http://eepurl.com

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