I heard a comment recently that BC and AD were going to be redefined from “before Christ” and “Anne Domini” (the year of our Lord) to Before Covid and After Delta.
Yes it’s true that history in the immediate term will be forever remembered as a time of lockdowns and restrictions.
This pandemic will be remembered for all the wrong reasons and will rewrite our modern history books.
However the real BC and AD belongs to Christmas, the day that changed our world forever through the birth of Jesus Christ, but in a good way.
In time Covid and its memory will fade and it will be just that – a memory.
But the birth of Jesus Christ has changed history forever for the good of all – as the angels proclaimed – I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. The birth of Jesus is more than just a memory as it has been over 2000 years since the birth of Christ and despite rumours of the demise of Christianity and the church it continues to survive and grow.
Covid was very difficult for the church but it could have been even more difficult.
We learned to adapt with technology.
We didn’t let the regulations become too difficult as people volunteered to sanitize churches and develop the technology we needed to livestream, do QR codes and a host of other innovations.
We were prepared to adapt away from traditions – individual cups, recorded music, booking for church, social distancing, staying seated while the bread and wine was brought to you, the wearing of masks.
We were given some freedoms other gatherings weren’t such as allowing services for unvaccinated members.
It wasn’t easy but whatever we could do we found a way to do it.
We zoomed for morning tea, bible studies, confirmation and meetings.
We learnt to adapt to the circumstances surrounding us and were prepared to change and even sacrifice and we did it because of our love for the church and each other.
To me that is Christmas in a nutshell.
God too had to adapt to circumstances that confronted him and he did so out of love.
Jesus said that God loved the world so much that he sent his one and only Son so that whoever believed in him would not perish but receive eternal life.
God loved us so much that he did not want us to perish.
And Paul says the same thing about God and his love for us that required him to adapt to the circumstances facing him:
In Romans 5 he says – God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Love moves us to do whatever we need to do.
As we celebrate Christmas today with our friends and family whom we love we are asked to spare a moment for those for whom this Christmas is not going to be such a celebration.
We have those who don’t have friends or family to celebrate with.
There are the homeless.
There are the unemployed who cannot afford the celebrations.
Those whose friends and family are separated because of border closures – nationally and internationally.
Those who are in isolation – those in hospital because of Covid.
And let us also remember those who have chosen not to get vaccinated who are unable to celebrate with friends and family who are concerned or compromised by that decision.
There are those who would love to be worshiping with us but for various reasons may not be able to including concerns for their health.
If this pandemic has taught us anything it is the value of family and relationships especially those who could not see their family because of the 5km limit or the limit on house gatherings, restrictions on visits to hospitals and nursing homes to see loved ones.
And for many restrictions of some sort still affect them.
Jesus knows the challenges we face – rejected at birth because there was no room at the inn.
Forced to flee to a foreign land because Herod wanted to kill him.
Rejected by his hometown when they ran him out of town.
Handed over to be crucified by his own leadership.
Abandoned by his disciples at his arrest.
Denied by his dearest friend and disciple 3 times.
Feeling abandoned by his own Father.
But through it all Jesus love for us never faded.
In fact at his death he pleaded with his father to continue to love those who put him to death asking him to forgive them.
And all of this because 2,000 years ago God loved the world so much that he sent his Son to us knowing that this is what we would do to him.
This Christmas let us look for ways that we can appreciate what we have.
The friends and family.
But let us also look for ways that we can share the love of Christmas with those for whom Christmas may not be joyful.
A phone call – a card – a small gift – anything that reminds them that they are not forgotten either by us but especially by God who loved them so much that he gave his one and only Son for them.