Just What I Don’t Want For Christmas This Year!
As the days to Christmas wind down, an unwanted gift came our way. I told Ed yesterday that one of the secretaries at our church phoned to say she has tested positive for Covid 19. She and her husband are quarantined for ten days. I was in the church office twice last week wearing my mask. I talked to her from a distance while she was wearing her mask. I am hoping I will miss catching the virus, but nothing is certain.
In all this time of Covid 19, no one has tested positive for Covid near us until now. Ed said to me, “It’s not what you want for Christmas.” I agreed with him, wholeheartedly. I recognize millions have tested positive throughout the world. Covid 19 has been greedily killing countless numbers and will continue to do so until the vaccines are administered. Perhaps we dismiss the massive number of deaths unless it is a friend or family member. When the virus hits close to home or infects oneself, there is no denying that the pandemic is real and possibly deadly.
Gifts come our way often without warning—some gifts we welcome and some we are forced to deal with whether we are ready or not. In the Bible, “Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:18,19)
Joseph must have questioned God’s intentions in a gift of pregnancy that brought scandal to their marriage relationship. Most often, God’s intentions and actions are hidden from us. We are told in the case of Joseph, “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit, She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. Because he will save his people from their sins.'” (Matthew 1:20,21)
When we are ready to understand God’s intentions and actions, He shares them with us. God had promised by his prophet that, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, God with us.” Joseph understood that behind the scandal and a broken relationship, God could be delivering his greatest gift.
God asks us to see beyond what comes our way, whether it seems a good or deadly gift. It is always time for us to wake up to the truth that God is at work accomplishing good out of our sin, sickness, and death. In everything, we must allow God’s will to be done. That is what Joseph did. “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (Matthew 1:24,25) Jesus is the vaccine against our infection of sin and death.