Christmas always happens
In times of war and in times of peace; in times of prosperity and during economic hardship and crisis; when families can gather and when families are separated - Christmas always happens. The experience of Christmas or the feeling of Christmas may vary due to the circumstances of life. Maybe, the greater the hardship, the greater the hope of Christmas shines through.
Remember that first Christmas came amidst political upheaval, in a country occupied by a foreign army. Society was deeply divided between those who collaborated with the Romans and those who wanted to fight them. Roman taxation reduced most to poverty. Because of a government edict, a young couple, the mother pregnant with her first child, had to close up the carpenter shop and leave home and relatives at a time they needed them most and travel to register for a census. There, alone in a stable, Christmas happened. Hope arrived with the sound of a newborn baby crying.
God had become one of us. God had entered into human suffering. And God continues to enter into our suffering. It is there that God often invites us to a deeper relationship. The hope of Christmas is realizing how near God is to us, how close God wants to be with us.
Who could have imagined the hardships facing us this Christmas? For some it is the loss of employment; for others, illness; for some the inability - whether by choice or circumstance- to gather with family and friends. It may be the fear of infection as we await the vaccine; not being able to gather for Eucharist; family turmoil as stress begins to take its toll.
Yet Christmas always happens. Let Christmas happen for you. God desires to be close to you, especially in your hardships and suffering. God proved that when he entered human suffering in the manger that first Christmas and again when he accepted that cross to suffer for us till he could suffer nor more. But the story does not end with suffering; it ends with resurrection, with hope. Above all, may your Christmas be filled with hope.