A COVID Christmas
Welcome to Thursday.
Where your husband greets you with a smile and a cheerful, "It's writing day!"
Gotta love that man.
You actually snag the last of the Peanut Butter Captain Crunch and it makes you feel good.
Your son can have the Pops.
I head out and finally remember to swing by the adorable embroidery shop to drop stockings off- our first new ones in ten years- to have names put on them just because it sounds lovely.
2020 calls for beautiful Christmas morning embroidery.
I know our kids will be heartsick to finally have to give up the ones made for them that finally fell apart, but I am hoping embroidery will help things out a bit.
The sweet European man makes you come into the back of the shop to let you peruse every color known to thread and hand pick the colors you want for girls and boys.
Isn't it the little things?
You head in to drop a little envelope off at the Post Office of things your sweet girl left at home from Thanksgiving break and the man at the counter tells you that he cannot find her address in his little computer there.
The computer that I always thought had some kind of government secrets and such.
The true story behind JFK's murder or something.
In reality they most likely haven't been updated since the 90's.
We stand there for much longer than I had anticipated and much longer than the man behind us anticipated as well.
The Postal worker tries the address different ways and tells me that it just cannot be found.
I am simultaneously wondering if I should just amazon her new lotion and if I need two or three books of Christmas stamps when the man behind me tells us to look up the college online to check the address.
He's hearing way more of my personal information than he really wants to carry around with him today.
The worker looks up the school (on his own cell phone mind you) and there it is in color, this weird address where my girl IS.
I decide NOT to tell her that I decided to send the lotion into the unknown anyway and that it might not get to her.
I think her breaking out in hives was enough for her- this finals week.
I begin to pay and kindly apologize to my new BFF behind me while he tells me not to worry about it he, "has cancer and only three weeks to live."
I am now in the middle of beginning to spontaneously cry and desperately try to remember if it's green for credit or red.
As my eyes well up he tells me he is joking.
He laughs it off and I wish him well.
Goodness. That's a start to a day.
I head over to the only coffee shop open in the midst of all of this craziness and order a tea.
The owner isn't keen on me keeping my mask off while I type so he came over to show me how to sip my tea and then recover my face.
It really was a good demonstration with raised eyebrows and all.
I was wondering if this is a good time to tell him that I have already had COVID?
Yeah, I'll keep that under my hat.
Ordering soup is now out of the question.
Sitting here my mind keeps replaying the fear in this owner's eyes.
Fear of this virus, of the government, of his coffee shop closing.
So much fear about all that is happening and so much I want so many to know.
That a bit of kindness goes such a long way,
That real peace can be found, known, understood and even shared with your neighbor.
That the biggest burden on my heart is for the whole wide world to know that Jesus came so we would never have to be alone.
He lived and died to save a whole human race so that at the end of it all we could live with him.
Right beside him.
And if that wasn't the best gift we could ever unwrap he decided to give us a piece of him to live deep inside of us until we make it home.
No social distancing; no mask required.
I might have felt like I was quite the mess in the middle of the post office or here at the coffee shop with my mask watcher, but I am never alone.
The Lord himself comes with me each errand, each sip, each word of correction to my kids and each snuggle with my husband.
In a time when we not only see through a glass darkly, but we cannot join loved ones in hospital rooms and nursing homes, He is right here with us.
How simple it is to remember that He never intended man to live alone.
He never designed fear to be our compass.
After the Lord's resurrection, In the middle of the disciples fearing the scary unknown future God sent His presence.
Hebrews 13:5 has been a familiar anchor of mine for a few years now:
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
That word right there, "conversation," means our "manner of life."
It means, "Check why you are doing what you are doing."
Am I wanting something I cannot have because I think it will bring me lasting peace?
Isn't that what we see at the Grocery store, Walmart, in our inbox and even on Facebook?
COVID has reminded us that we have been filled-to-the-brim with Ole' Number One.
We have sadly, bought the lie that our comfort and peace can be found in and of ourselves.
And when we are forced to stay home and actually have time to analyze our life we realize how incomplete it really is.
It doesn't surprise me that suicide is sadly on the rise as never before.
The realization of a life minus purpose leads to fear of the great unknown in death.
The hole in each and every heart is supposed to drive us to the only place of fulfillment, Jesus Christ himself.
Life was never mean to be lived without our eternal guide.
Sitting at home days on end should also remind us that this is surely not our home.
Walking circumspectly, examining ourselves of things we may have forgotten is asked of us by the Lord.
How easily covetousness sneaks into our hearts and homes making black Friday deals look like fairies sent to make us happy again.
Now the last part of that verse:
"..and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Settle yourself with your really great marriage, your kids with sincere hearts, your familiar cookie cutters and even your worn but warm boots and remember that He has given you all that you have, and you can trace your gifts all the way back to Him.
He is enough this Christmas.
This COVID Christmas.
He is more than enough because He will never leave us.
He will never walk away, refuse to visit or be shut out of our hearts.
And as if that isn't enough to comfort us come way may, he adds that He will never forsake us.
He will never give up on us.
Us who aren't the best testimony hurrying through the grocery store.
Us who say the wrong thing again even though we thought we were ready for that conversation.
Us who let our hearts wander to the new and shiny more times than we care to admit to ourselves.
Us who forget to see our marriage as the wonderful gift that it is, or our kids as real treasures we get to steward for Him.
Us who would rather be eating steak than meatloaf.
Us who are nervous to hand out a tract, to lift a voice of praise or even a cry for help.
Us who spend more time catching up with a friend than with him, who forget to thank Him for each day, each good gift and for each breath we take.
This is the best gift we have ever been given.
The enduring satisfying presence of the Lord.
He is with us through the laundry, through the continuous barrage of Math problems and with each tract we offer to conquer the fear around us.
What a gift!
The present of His presence.
Never leaving, always believing in us and loving us back to himself.
It's not a line on a blog, it's not a cute Christmas Card slogan.
We celebrate the God of heaven coming to be with us.
Let your heart soak up every inch of the wonder of this again this year- especially this year, and share Him with so many this Covid Christmas.