Christmas Eve 2020 – “With Us”
December 24th, 2020 – Genesis 3:8-15
May you receive from God the good you have not deserved, not get the bad that you have, and may you have peace with God through the blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
We live in a different world this Christmas Eve compared to last Christmas Eve. We think a certain way now that we did not before.
Maybe you have this too: While watching movies, when I see characters out in public sitting close to each other or brushing arms with strangers as they walk down the street, something twinges in my brain and goes “Something’s not right. They are too close together. Oh wait, this movie is pre-2020.”
Having conversations out in public now feels an awful lot like home on the farm. It is like a bunch of prairie farmers are gathering around to chat. They are so used to being apart from other people, and having all this space around them, their personal bubble grows huge and they shout at each other from quite a distance.
We all know certain things, too. For example, if you have a dry cough, fever, headache, loss of taste or smell, what should you do? Go out to a party? Go out shopping? Stand on the side of the street with a sign saying, “free hugs”? No, you stay at _________and self- ___________.
You separate yourself from others to keep them safe, right? You are sick and you do not want it to spread to others, so they do not get sick, or worse, die.
Now, I am sure you all are tired of hearing about this over and over again. It consumes conversations. All this talk of Coronavirus, COVID-19, can get fatiguing. But you know what? We have never had such a great illustration in the forefronts of all our minds to understand the Christmas message.
In the beginning of time, when God created Adam and Eve, God walked with them in the garden. They were close. They were intimate. God and man lived together in perfect peace. They walked side-by-side. Much like we lived with each other at the start of this year. Sitting in the pew next to each other.
But what happened?
In the garden of Eden, humans did something, and it caused them to get infected. So, when God came out to walk with them, Adam and Eve hid themselves from God. They were infected, they knew it, and they self-isolated themselves among the trees of the garden. They made use of the trees of the garden as the first “mask” for their infection.
They had to hide themselves from God and God had to distance Himself from them because they were infected, and He was not.
In our world with COVID, it is the uninfected who are at risk. With God and humans, it is the humans who are at risk of incinerating because, with their infection, they cannot survive in the full presence of the glory of God.
So, God must always mask himself if He wants to be with His people. He comes in clouds that shroud His glory, He lets Moses see the back of Him as He passes by, He dwells in a sacred place behind the Temple curtain, the Holy of Holies, so His people would not be destroyed in His immediate presence.
The fallout of being separated from God is devastating. What happens to a branch when it is lopped off its tree? What happens when a hand is cut off from its arm? What happens when humans are cut off from their God? They die. What happens when they are cut off from the source of goodness itself? They do bad. They suffer evil. When we are cut off from the light, the sit in darkness.
What is the solution? We have no cure. We cannot fix ourselves. Who has ever fixed themselves? Who has ever lived forever?
We are awaiting a good vaccine for this COVID virus. We are waiting for “the cure” that is going to be injected into our body and teach our body how to defeat the thing that plagues our world right now.
Here is where Christmas comes in. Christmas is all about the cure being born into the world. Jesus is the cure to our problem. Jesus is God breaking through our separation and coming down from heaven to be with us again. He breaks the isolation to be near us again. Counting the cost and knowing what will happen to Him by being near us, He comes anyway out of love. God is injecting Himself into our world and taking on our infection, dying with it, and rising back to life again to live forever!
Jesus is the first one of us to defeat the plague of death and live. He passes on the cure to us right now. This message of what He has done for us to cure our disease is the very thing which passes on the cure. Faith, which is trust in Jesus – what He says He has done for us is what saves us from death. He came into our human body, at Christmas, to bring peace once again to God and man.
He came to walk among us. To be with us. To take our infection. To heal us.
Won’t it be a great day when this COVID virus is finally over? When we can be close to each other again? When self-isolations and masks will not be needed?
In God’s plan of uniting us to Him again, of curing our infection, Christmas is that day. It is that start which leads to the cross and ends with eternal life for all of us in Jesus. It is why we celebrate this event. It is the victory day of God over separation, loneliness, and isolation from Him. It is God coming to be close to us again. It is about intimacy. It is about warmth and love with the source of all love.
That is true no matter how we celebrate the day this year.
This day is for you. This day is about Jesus. May He be in the forefront of everything we do. May the truth behind this day bring you hope, love, joy, and peace now and always.
Thank you, Father, for bringing us together.