This year has been the strangest year of my lifetime (at least as far as I can remember). The world has been fallen since Adam and Eve’s failure in the Garden of Eden, but this year seems to have magnified everything. The Lord has been gracious to Pam and me, but all around us we see:
- Sickness and death. You can’t turn on the television without being forced to consider both. Millions have been sick, and hundreds of thousands have died. The effects of the fall are undeniable.
- Unemployment and need. Food banks are reporting more needs than ever, and churches don’t have to look far to find needs in their immediate vicinity. Economic distress is real.
- Loneliness and isolation. The COVID crisis has in some ways forced us into seclusion—hardly the best place to be seeking to follow God faithfully. Even the strongest believers are growing weary of this situation.
- Disagreement and division. Couple COVID with a raucous political season, and we’ve seen division among even brothers and sisters in Christ. The devil, it seems, has found us susceptible to his arrows.
In the midst of all that, however, it’s the Christmas season. Here’s why this old, old story especially brings hope this year:
- Jesus came as the light into a world of chaos—not unlike our world today. It was dark, sinful, self-centered, and dying. Our world hasn’t changed (because human beings haven’t changed), yet it seems especially dark these days. I trust we’ve seen again the power of Christ’s light driving back the darkness.
- The Christmas story is the earthly beginning of the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. That is, the baby in Bethlehem was an announcement to the enemy and his forces that they would not win. God has come, and any victory of the devil will be only temporary.
- Some around the world today are thinking more about the realities of life and death. The ongoing destructiveness of COVID has created this anguish, but it’s also caused some to open their hearts to eternal matters. Perhaps our unbelieving loved ones and non-believers around the globe will be more open to the Truth this Christmas season.
- We’ve had to trust God and His sovereignty. The year 2020 has not caught God by surprise, nor has it worried Him. It’s always good for us to be reminded that God’s in charge – and He will step into the story at just the right time. He who sent His Son “when the time came to completion” (Gal 4:4) is always perfect in His timing. We can trust Him.
What hope do you see this year?