What will Christmas look like in 2020? Dr. Craig Kraft
/ Tuesday, December 1, 2020
“In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.”
We often forget that fear was part of the Christmas story. It is natural for us to be afraid when we face uncertainty, whether it is an angel’s appearance or the impact of a pandemic.
Like the shepherds, we enter a new Christmas season with fears and uncertainty.
It's Going to Look Different
Today is my wife’s birthday. Living in British Colombia at this time means that we are under pretty tight COVID 19 restrictions. We are not allowed to gather socially with anyone who does not live in our household. That makes it pretty hard to throw a birthday party. This is traditionally the launch of several birthday parties and celebrations that lead my family into the Christmas season.
We are experiencing a disruptive change in our society, work, friendships, and home. We push against it, but in the end, we do our best to comply as good Canadian citizens, but it hurts.
We miss our families; we miss getting together with friends, we miss the social activities, sports, and religious gatherings that filled our calendars just a few months ago.
Now, we are approaching Christmas, one of the biggest family holidays of the year. What will it look like?
It’s safe to say that we probably won’t be attending any candlelit Christmas Eve services.
There will be fewer people seated around the table.
More of our shopping will be done online.
We will all miss our loved ones who are unable to celebrate with us.
But, our Christmas celebrations can still be filled with hope, peace, joy, love. We may have to be adaptive and creative, but we can still practice hospitality and celebrate this special time of the year.
We may not control the virus, the circumstances, or the restrictions that we are experiencing right now, but we can control our own attitudes.
We can choose to make this a special Christmas. We can find ways to modify old traditions or create new ones. We can discover ways of expressing love to others without being physically present, and we can focus our attention on the message of hope, that came wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
It's Still About Jesus
This season is still about Jesus. On the eve of his birth, the angels arrived with the message, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” The Gospel message is a story of God’s love. He sent his son into a world of chaos, fear, and uncertainty to become one of us. As a man, Jesus dwelt with us and showed us the way to his father in heaven.
The world wants to obscure this message, convince us that there is no God, and no hope outside of what we create for ourselves. That is a delusion. That is the myth that Jesus came to dispel. God loves us enough to take on human flesh, live with us, and invite us into a relationship with him. Christmas is the gift of life, eternal life with Jesus Christ.
Over the next four weeks, we will be offering a few reminders and hints of how to restore Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love to our Christmas 2020 celebrations.
Let’s start by checking our attitude and deciding to make 2020 a special Christmas to remember.
Dr. Craig Kraft is the Executive Director of Outreach Canada. Craig and his wife Heather have four adult sons. They were involved in pastoral ministry in western Canada for fifteen years before becoming missionaries with OC. Craig served with OC in southern Africa and now leads the ministry in Canada. After returning from Africa, Craig assisted with the formation of the OC Global Alliance, a partnership of over one thousand missionaries working around the world. Craig is a graduate of Northwest Baptist Seminary at ACTS and a graduate of Asia Graduate School of Theology with a Doctor of Intercultural Studies. His study has focused on diaspora missiology in Canada. His dissertation explores the potential for revitalizing Canadian churches through the practice of biblical hospitality with refugees and immigrants.