This Sunday is Advent Four. Christmas is coming in spite of Covid 19. One Christmas tradition I love is the decorations – lights, nativity, Christmas trees, villages and so much more. I chuckle when I think how little we claim our Christianity. Our society pretends to be Christian every year. As we decorate our homes we announce the birth of God in the baby Jesus whether we know it or not. These decorations carry a message of hope for our aching world.
We decorate regardless of who will see it. On the first Sunday of Advent our church was beautifully decorated for our “mask to mask” worship even though few would attend. The story of Jesus’ birth was told over and over again on the window sills, with the Christmas tree, the angels and outside in the church yard in the illuminated nativity scene. All of it gives the message of love, hope, peace and joy.
As I walk or drive around the city, I see our Christian story told and retold through the Christmas lights and decorations by people of faith, unbelievers and those who don’t know the Christian story. Even Covid 19 cannot stop the retelling of our story of God’s love. Now, that’s a mystery.
My friends Nancy and Richard, in the midst of their grief for the death of her brother last week and their son (three years ago), put up their Christmas tree and village, signs of God love and hope in the midst of their pain.
My friend Diane, a woman of faith, decorates every single room in her home. She has four Christmas trees, one of which stands watch over her in her bedroom. This year she’s done it again even though she’ll not be hosting church meetings, or parties. Her minister came by to see it all. When Sharon’s husband described each room, because she’s blind, she said, “This is the Christmas house. You should get your friend Jan to write a book about the Christmas house.”
As a special gift to Diane, I have done just that. This week she received her book with pictures of her home and a story “Miss Diane’s Christmas House”. It’s fiction but it carries truth. For Diane telling the story of Christmas throughout her home is her way of speaking her love and hope for the world.
All who decorate this year are saying to me, “Jesus will be born even in the midst of Covid 19.” God is at work in our world. We are not alone.