This year, the Christmas season was a strange one! In all of my 91 years, I’ve never had such a quiet Christmas. With all of the COVID precautions, not many people visited and even family stayed away for the most part. For the first time in my life, I didn’t go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Instead, I watched the services on an IPad that we purchased when the lockdown first began back in March 2020. The services we watched were just as meaningful but not being able to greet our friends and give each other hugs took its toll on us. This past year has been a lonely one for sure.
My entire life I have been surrounded by friends. I taught for almost fifty years and I considered all my students to be my friends. I would go to the supermarket and see so many people I knew. My wife would get mad at me for being gone so long when she sent me to the shop because she was waiting for the particular item she sent me for and it would take me over an hour to get back home! I spent the time greeting friends and stopping to chat with each and every one of them, forgetting that she needed the item “right away.” I just couldn’t pass by friends without having a conversation to ask how each was doing; was the family well? Were they healthy? Did they need anything? When were they going to drop by the house for a visit? On a daily basis, I saw so many and had so many good conversations! But now, all that has disappeared. Now, we spend our time in the house, waiting for the pandemic to be over, and please God that will happen soon!
I know that I’m not the only one feeling lonely during this difficult time. I worry about my children, grandchildren, and my great grandchild. I worry about the province and all the people who have been shut in for months now. I worry about the country—how are we ever going to be able to pay for all this when the pandemic is over? I worry about the world! How will the whole world recover from this pandemic? So much concern and stress that I have found myself, at times, unable to sleep. I’ve spent months in a constant state of worry and anxiety about what is to come!
I know I am not alone with all my fears. I know that many of you reading this are also feeling anxious and down. Many of you are lonely and tired. Many of you, like me, want this to end.
So, what can we do to feel better about all this concern? My friends, the only thing that has gotten me through all of this stress is my belief that our Lord and Saviour is holding us all safe in his arms! Jesus Christ was born to save us all! The Son of God was sent to us as a sign of God’s commitment to us, that he will NEVER abandon us! In our lowest moment, all we need to do is turn to God, and he will see us through ALL our difficult times! If we remember God’s love for us, in our darkest days, he will open his arms and hold on to us tightly!
For 2021, my greatest hope is that you all remember your Lord and Saviour. Give all your trials and tribulations up to him and you will get through! In this New Year, I pray that you will all be comforted and feel God’s strength. I pray for your good health and I pray that soon, we will all be able to meet once again to give each other the hugs and handshakes that we so richly miss! Begin this New Year with a renewed sense of strength, sent to you by the birth of Jesus Christ!
Have a blessed 2021!