Who would have thought that the Christmas of this year would have echoes of last year? Isolation, quarantine, masks, lots of fresh air, washing of hands and restricted mixing are all back. The eye-catching signs of Christmas are still there with decorations, nativity scenes and planned festivities. It always amazes me that the Christmas spirit lives on where the words JOY, PEACE, HOPE and LOVE are expressed without fail.
Think of JOY, it’s all around us – Christmas music, carols, Father Christmas and his elves, lighted Christmas trees in the town squares and in our homes and the anticipation of meeting together to have fun.
For some people enjoying Christmas would be covering up the effects of this year’s difficulties upon their lives. An excuse almost to forget, just for a little while. PEACE would be elusive. After all, how can there be peace where there’s so much aggression, poverty, hardship and grief.
Without HOPE we would be lost. Hope motivates us, it encourages us to keep going and make new plans.
How do we see LOVE? The sentiment of Christmas is love. The norm for Christmas is hugs, kisses, good wishes, and then a few days later the atmosphere is gone.
Real joy, peace, hope and love are fundamental to Christmas. True joy is not a cover-up. Peace is reliable, it is not false or illusionary. Hope is looking forward to a future, albeit unknown, and love is a foundation wrapped up in the birth of Jesus for it is rooted in eternity. Christmas started with the birth of Jesus. Sadly, for many, Christmas today is far, far removed from that. It would be good this Christmas if we went back to discover for ourselves the true value of God’s gift to us - His JOY, PEACE, HOPE and LOVE.