December seems to be the month that Americans try to get into the holiday spirit. As well it should be, because it is the season when we recognize the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Christmas and holiday movies are playing on TV. Cities and towns are displaying holiday decor along their streets and squares, while stores have their windows decked-out for the holidays. Everything seems to be in the normal Christmas spirit, but sometimes things are not as they seem.
As in years past, folks in 2020 will try to put on a smile at Christmas, but underneath, their hearts and minds are very troubled. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, folks have lost loved ones, their jobs or livelihoods, their homes, and even their children are displaced from school and friends. Unrest from the elections and chaos in our country has caused deep distress in our country.
Do we think we are the only generation in our country that has been through trials and tribulations? I think not!
History tells us that the month of December has seen some troubling times in our great country.
Just to name a few: It was during the month of December in 1782 that patriot Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride warning that the British were coming. In December 1838, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians lost some 4,000 of their people on the “Trail of Tears.” On Dec. 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy bombed Pearl Harbor, killing more than 2,000 Americans. In December 1944, one of the greatest battles of World War II was the Battle of the Bulge in Europe (Americans alone suffered over 75,000 casualties).
Besides the war in 1918, an ill wind blew over our country. It was the Spanish Influenza. The flu had already taken as many as 50 million lives all worldwide and now it would have its way in America. This disease, mostly having been brought home by our returning troops from the Great War, would wreak havoc on the lives and souls of many Americans.
As Christmas rolled around in 1918, instead of it being a time of joy with candles, parties, and holiday songs, Americans, much like today, found themselves in isolation.
During this horrific time, America and the world desperately needed a great big hug and assurances that things would be better soon.
Though it was only just the first wave of the flu, in late December 1918, bans were lifted and churches, schools, and businesses reopened their doors. How could anything cancel Christmas?
Some folks today will look back and say that the year 2020 was the longest, most dreadful year of their lives and they might be right. But the 1918 and 1919 lockdowns, were, for the most part, a much lonelier experience than in today’s pandemic. Not having the technology that we have today, most folks struggled with loss of contact with their community. Sometimes this fear out- weighed the fear of the deadly and very contagious disease.
The Holy Bible tells us that in the year Jesus was born, there was violence, chaos, and political and social unrest. It was a dark time in that day.
The Bible also tells us that the night Jesus was born, a bright star appeared in the heavens. The wise men followed the bright star to the place where the Christ child lay.
You see, in this time of darkness, light and hope were brought into the world through our Lord Jesus.
You may not be a follower of Christ, but in these dark days of this horrific pamdemic, let me remind you of His power and light that He brings to all mankind. He is a beacon of light in a dark storm that brings peace and salvation into our weary lives.
Psalm 71:20 says “You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.”
I’m gonna stop preaching now, but my hope in this coming Christmas season is that we will not forget that we are not alone in our world; that we have a Savior and Friend that has our back. He is ever- present to deliver us a big hug anytime and anyplace.
So really, how could anything cancel Christmas?!?
J.A. Bolton is author of “Just Passing Time,” co-author of “Just Passing Time Together,” and just released his book “Southern Fried: Down-Home Stories,” all of which can be purchased on Amazon. Contact him at email@example.com