“Sisters & Brothers, kindly log into the Christmas Zoom Meeting. The password is COVID-19”.
Yes, my friends the Coronavirus is literally everywhere and impacting everyone and everything, even our Zoom Meetings.
Christmas is happening, but so is COVID-19.
2020 has been a year like no other, but it has not stopped us from moving ahead. We survived. We adapted. We “rolled” with the various provisions which were tailored to respond to the state of the virus at any given time.
We pivoted and kept on going, because God is still God and we are still the Church.
The Hymn writer wrote:
“Your grace and mercy brought us through. I’m living this moment because of you.”
The babe of Bethlehem- and every baby- is a symbol that God is a God of new beginnings, of life and hope in every circumstance. Every Christmas proclaims this and challenges us to believe it. And this year has proven it.
The new challenge is that Christmas 2020 has to happen differently: restricted family gatherings (with 10 persons or less); we should not be mixing households; no parties or dancing; no Junkanoo, etc. This is very strange for us because we are a gathering, touching, hugging, shoulder-rubbing people, who love to pack into home spaces too small for our numbers.
However, the best advice of the time calls us to show our love in a different way, i.e., from a distance – you stay over there and, I will stay over here. In spite of this we are still close, one in heart, mind, and spirit, never mind the social distance and other restrictions.
That will never change, Christmas still happens – in spite of COVID. Jesus came into the world despite the frailty and imperfection of humanity. Christmas is still Christmas despite COVID.
God is with us always but Christmas is a special reminder that he came to be with us and remains with us no matter what.
Irish Poet, Cecil Alexander, wrote the hymn, Once in Royal David’s City. Two verses say:
He came down to earth from heaven, Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable, And His cradle was a stall; With the poor, and mean, and lowly, Lived on earth our Saviour holy.
For He is our childhood’s pattern, Day by day like us He grew, He was little, weak, and helpless, Tears and smiles lie us He knew: And he feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.
May the Christ Child in Christmas be our Hope, Love, Joy and, Peace as we commemorate His birth.
And one final note: there is a lot of hardship, food insecurity and hunger in our communities. Let’s help somebody this Christmas: help someone or help a family that you do not help ordinarily. Help them by being interested in their circumstances, with our love, and concern, and with our material resources. So many of us have much more than we need.
Share! Touch someone! The Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands joins me in wishing one and all a Blessed Christmas and a Blessed New Year.
Yours in Christ.
The Rt. Rev’d. Laish Z. Boyd
Bishop of the Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands