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Christmas hope in a COVID-19 world

As we look toward Christmas, I am conscious that for many of us the joy of seeing loved ones and catching up with family is a life-giving activity that is desperately needed after a hard year.

 

Very few of us will look back and say “I really miss 2020.” It’s been a year that has left its mark on everyone. It started with our nation experiencing an unprecedented fire season and then came COVID-19. The virus presents us with an unresolvable stressor. Until there is a readily available vaccine there is always the risk of another outbreak throwing our lives or those of our fellow Aussies into chaos. Rearranging our lives, our weddings, funerals, holidays, social lives, sport and even our shopping habits (got enough toilet paper?!), 2020 has brought us new joys like having swabs stuck up noses and down throats, social distancing, self-isolation and yes that most wonderful of things “lockdown.”

 

So I find myself asking how Christmas will bring us hope in this time of COVID-19?

 

The answer is in the extraordinary gift it has given us. COVID-19 has reminded us that a screen is not a person and a video chat is not the same as being there in person.  It has taught to cherish the physical presence of our families and friends in ways that modern life had helped us to forget. Nothing is quite like the real thing.

 

And so it is with Christmas.   Christians believe that through the birth of Jesus Christ, God steps into our world and humanity has a chance to meet Him.  We are offered the opportunity to experience his love and compassion in person and through his death and resurrection find hope and meaning that can bring light and hope to even the darkest year.

 

So this Christmas, my hope is that you may discover something of that hope and even in this season of COVID-19, encounter the embrace, not only your family and friends but of God himself. An embrace made possible by the events of that very first Christmas.

 

Ian Warner
Staff Chaplain

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