This year, the year of the Coronavirus 2020, can possibly be described as one of the worst years many individuals and families will remember, but, unfortunately, not in a nostalgic way. 2020 has seen so many people suffer: from sickness and a slow recuperation or death; from the decimation of certain businesses and livelihoods; from the separation of families and close friends who cannot meet with each other; and from the usual and myriad personal and familial difficulties of all kinds. Yet, the Lord calls us to trust in HIM! The question is why and how?
It is Christmas Day today in the UK. I am currently sitting in our living room with our rescue blue Great Dane gently snoring away on the couch. All is so quiet except for his steady breathing . . . so quiet indeed that one can hear a pin drop. There is no sound within or without to hush the sound of that proverbial pin falling upon the floor.
This quietness is a reflection of the quietness of the heart before the Lord: where the soul rests in His presence in the knowledge that He is ALL and is OVER ALL; that HE HEARS US when we call out to Him in the silence of our hearts. Knowing and believing this is what has kept me going. It is part and parcel of my Christian faith.
One of the choruses I learnt as a young schoolgirl goes as follows:
Trust in the Lord and don’t despair,
He is a Friend so true,
No matter what your troubles are,
Jesus will see you through.
Sing, when the day is bright,
Sing through the darkest night!
Everyday, all the way,
Let us sing, sing, sing!
This chorus, and the meaning of its words, have never left me. I have held its message within my heart, and sung it countless times since the 53 years when I first learnt it in school. For me, it is one BIG reason for believing in God, for He has done wondrously for me and those I love and pray for consistently. I do not say this lightly. My family and I have had our shares of ups and downs, worries and cares, pain and loss over the years. However, through all this, my Lord has been the Constant who has seen me and mine through them.
So why am I talking about this in my Christmas post? It’s simple. Christmas is not about the baubles and presents under the tree. It is not about ample dinners and boozy parties. Christmas is about the Lord Jesus, and the reason for His coming down to Earth, which was to save us, mankind, from our sins that we may be reconciled with Him when we leave this life. This is why we celebrate Christmas – the birth of the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
You may well ask what made me link Christmas with the chorus I have just shared with you. My reply? The coming of the Lord Jesus to Earth gave and continues to give mankind hope in His care and love: it is not simply the hope of an eternity spent with Him when we depart this life, but also the soul knowledge that when we call out to Him and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour; when we trust in Him and in His Word; when we walk in faith daily with Him – then is He always there with us in this life. I know this for a FACT in my own life.
The chorus above is one I often sing when I am feeling afraid, or, indeed, in despair. There is much to be afraid of and despair right now in the world. But then there is also much to rejoice in with vaccines being rolled out to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Much, of course, has still to be accomplished to keep this virus at bay, and indeed to render it untenable within both the human and animal populace. Nonetheless, one must not forget that it has also been man’s disingenuity and disrespect of creation that brought the world’s current health crisis about.
This Christmas has been a Christmas like no other since the time I was old enough to understand the meaning of Christmas. This Christmas, let us remember those who have lost loved ones or who are in the process of saying goodbye to them with broken hearts. This Christmas, let us remember those who are suffering from all sorts of heartache. It will be a more sombre Christmas than usual for the thoughtful with recollections of both losses and triumphs.
As for me, this Christmas will continue to comprise both prayer and praise as encouraged in the chorus above. Prayer for loved ones and also for those we do not know; prayer for the world at large and the difficulties that so many people are facing. Praise for those gentle healing hands and soothing voices that patients have found comfort in; praise to God that He has been in this crisis with us, and instrumental in the workings out of preventative vaccines. Hence I return to the simple promises of this chorus again with its elucidation of God’s infinite care and the Lord Jesus’ promise always to see us through!
The Lord Jesus and His promise of salvation, the assurance of His presence in our lives, the hope and heart knowledge of eternal life with Him in the hereafter comprise our Christmas hope and joy – and NOT just at Christmas, but throughout our lives.
(Note: I write and say none of this lightly: for one of my own suffered from Covid-19, and I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s disease.)