“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
2 Corinthians 13:11
It’s Sunday. We will again tune into our church’s electronic service and worship our God. We’ll sing hymns and hear the Word – we’ll listen to the message and be inspired, but something will be missing.
Our Sundays have changed since the pandemic hit us ten months ago. Churches began to go with the flow and offer services on line. Now we can even choose which service or services to attend. We can sit in the comfort of our own homes, sip on a cup of coffee, relax in our pajamas and not think about starting up the car in freezing temperatures.
We became accustomed to this form of worship, because we didn’t have a choice. Our government shut down our churches because of a germ. We comply for the benefit of our fellow man and ourselves so that the virus will not spread. The germ could be found in church as well as any other gathering place. The fact that singing in church could also spread germs sealed the deal.
So, here it is, the second Sunday in Advent. Our hearts and minds should be focused on the coming of our Savior, King, Jesus. Our voices should be raised in melodious anthems sung by choirs and congregations. Those songs are designed to be sung in groups of more than one or two. It isn’t the same this Christmas season. Nothing is the same.
I truly miss the fellowship of Christian worship. We can still enjoy the Word of God where ever we are, but being together, encouraging one another, hugging, smiles, and tears are still missing. My heart is sad because of it, but then I’m reminded of the very first Christmas when Jesus was born.
He came to this earth in the presence of his mother, Mary and her betrothed husband, Joseph. They had no place to stay, because the town of Bethlehem was filled with visitors and the inn was full. Instead of the royal welcome He should’ve received, Jesus was born in a holding place for animals. His bed was their feeding trough. Certainly the angels in heaven rejoiced at this wondrous event. Shepherds were frightened as they tended their sheep when that heavenly choir brought them the news that the Messiah was born, but it wasn’t a usual royal birth.
Last year I spent Christmas Eve in a hospital bed. It was a most unusual Christmas, but God was with me in that room. The huge window next to my bed revealed a misty, midnight sky. Eventually a star appeared. Even in the silence and aloneness of that moment, I was reminded that all my fears – all my hopes and dreams – all my sadness was outshone by that little star.
Like the first Christmas, when the star led the shepherds to Jesus, I was permitted a glimpse of what it must’ve been like.
We will gather together in fellowship again. It may be a while, so in the meantime, we should continue to lift each other up in prayer. We should share time with them online. We shouldn’t let that flame go out. God’s love will never die. We must work hard to keep ours alive.