No curfew or restriction can silence a grateful heart. We can and should take time to express gratitude for all the blessings God has given us, especially those we routinely take for granted.
It's not over til it's over -- or so they say. Still, I'm pretty sure that if I started a social media campaign to cancel the rest of 2020 and celebrate New Year's Eve right now, I'd find a lot of support. And yet, even if we broke out the party hats and horns for the two promising vaccines almost through the clinical trial pipeline, flipping the calendar doesn't suddenly guarantee that 2021 will be substantially better. The difference between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 -- if there is any -- is likely to be negligible.
In other words, saying so doesn't make it so. Words are not magic wands that have the power to change what is, no matter how much we wish they could. Numerous governors, mayors, and public health officials have told us that there won't be any Thanksgiving or Christmas this year. Can you hear the angels laughing?
Holy days occur without permission. That's because no one can keep us from giving thanks to God and no one can cancel Christmas. No curfew or restriction can silence a grateful heart. We can and should take time to express gratitude for all the blessings God has given us, especially those we routinely take for granted. And we can all rest assured that Christmas will come this year just as it has ever since Mary gave birth to the Son of God in a Bethlehem cave 2,000 years ago. No matter what's going on in our world or who's in power, the birth of Christ cannot be masked, locked down, or quarantined away. No government on earth can stop Christmas. More than a few have tried.
The Incarnation is irrevocable. And that mysterious truth is precisely where Christians find hope -- especially in times of desperation and fear and in places where the open proclamation of the Gospel may not be welcome, even if it is permitted. God has shattered the barrier between all that is divine and what is human. And why shouldn't he? After all, it is his to shatter. God has become one of us, and there is no power on earth that can change or lessen the impact of that bold reality.
We may not be able to celebrate the holidays with abandon this year, but that does not mean that cause for celebration has disappeared. To the contrary, Christmas is all the more beautiful when we know how much we depend on it. The savior's coming is ever more joyous when we've lost the pretension of believing that we can somehow save ourselves.
Yet we are not destined for the dust.
Still, wait we must while bodies crumble and tears encase our souls in rust.
But we have somewhere else to go.
And while we may not be traveling today, we will someday take our leave and hold our breath until we wake up in a place where we can breathe again.
God is coming, and better still, he is coming to us where we are, in what has felt like an interminable year in a god-forsaken place beyond his reach. All we've suffered and grieved over the past several months has taken its toll. Even more, it has blinded us to the truth that God has, in fact, been with us all along. So as we once again enter the season of waiting and preparation, it's good to remember that he is already here.
- Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a Catholic convert, wife, and mother of eight. Inspired by the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, she is an author, speaker, and musician, and serves as a senior editor at Ave Maria Press. Find Jaymie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @YouFeedThem.