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How To Find Joy in a “Covid-19 Christmas”

It’s December, the last month of a long 2020, and now we await what has officially been predicted to be a forthcoming “very dark winter.” How are we to cope with such a bleak forecast? How can we find joy in a Covid-19 Christmas that is followed by a Covid New Year?














Both hard questions that I just posed challenge us to cope with the “very dark winter” that predictably

awaits us if, i.e., we decide beforehand to frame Christmas 2020 and Winter 2021 in terms of the coronavirus. One might even say that the wordset “Covid Christmas” tacitly suggests that Covid is the focus, not Christ.

May I say something boldly that followers of Christ already know?

Covid-19 is not the center of history.

So often we are lured to turn our gaze away from Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2) Off guard we forget that we tend to veer off mission simply by engaging wrong questions.

Please think through this with me, and I will try to guide us into the act of further thinking because thinking is itself an important part of imitating God. (Ephesians 5:1)

To begin, I humbly ask: Do you see the mistake in embracing flawed questions that are framed in bleak descriptions of a virus-ridden Christmas and New Year?

Philosophically speaking, the trap that we fall into without thinking is that we forget to think about the nature, the content, and the framing of the questions that we ask.

First, let us examine the nature of the question:

“How can we find joy in a Covid-19 Christmas that is followed by a Covid New Year?”

The nature of this question presupposes from the start that Christmas 2020 is joyless. Arguably it states that whatever joy “we find” must presently be hidden or possibly even lost though conceivably it might come in the future.

Second, let us contemplate the content of the question:

“How can we find joy in a Covid-19 Christmas that is followed by a Covid New Year?”

While the content does suggest that joy, indeed, is there for those who find it, the content of the question still burdens us with the task of figuring out how to find this hidden joy.

Third, let us consider the framing of the question:

“How can we find joy in a Covid-19 Christmas that is followed by a Covid New Year?”

Do you see the subtle misframing?

The question is framed in terms of “we” ourselves. How can “we”?

But now, look what happens if we reframe the question. If we reframe the question into yet a more truthful question, we can find lots of ways to enter into the miracle of joy.

Consider, if you will, how different the question is if instead we ask:

What pictures hold the power to show the people around us that there is something greater going on right now than Covid?

Another alternative question:

What stories shine the Christmas Truth that Life is found in Jesus, no matter if there is a coronavirus or not?

2021 is not a Covid New Year--it’s a Christ New Year. Historically speaking, 2021 marks the two thousandth and twenty-first year since Jesus Christ was born. The letters “A.D.” in 2021 A.D. stand for the Latin, Anno Domini which translated into English means, “In the year of our Lord.”

What I’m saying here is that 2021 is tethered to the year of our Lord. It is not tied to the fleeting, floating flattening of the virus.

So then, how do we find joy this Christmas and New Year?

By remembering that joy is a precious gift from Christ, not Covid.

Christ is the King. Covid is not the king.

Christ is the Power and Wisdom of God. (I Corinthians 1:24)

Covid is the laggard that drops out of the equation.

Christ is the Leader; Joy the follower.

As blogger Robin Bote put it, “Joy is the result of something else. It doesn’t simply sit somewhere waiting to get plucked up like a daisy.”

Joy is the experience we finally enter into when we regard Christ, not Covid, as the Sign and Eternal Reference Point that announces to the world that God is able to save us, not only from a pandemic, but also from the problem of sin and death. (I Corinthians 15)

“Unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Savior.” (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 2:11)

Sarah Sumner, Ph.D., MBA

President, Right On Mission 


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