Paul Witkop is pastor of Light of the Desert Lutheran Church in Cave Creek.

Christmas joy
Photo: Brigitte Tohm from Pexels

The news media, department stores, churches are all telling us that Christmas will be different this year. The COVID-19 virus will certainly change the way that we celebrate and gather. It will be especially hard because we may not be able to see those who we only see at Christmas. It will be different.

Though we will have to work harder to connect and take extra precautions to stay safe, I believe that we will be able to express the season’s real meaning and experience the hope and power of God’s love.

As we prepare for this 2020 Christmas season, we remember that the promise of Christmas is God with us. God, the mighty creator of the universe came to earth on that first Christmas to do life together with us. Despite all the divisions between people in the world and all of our own selfishness, God still pursues us. All throughout the Bible, God comes to people and tells them, “I will be with you.” In perhaps the best-known passage in the Bible, Psalm 23, God promises us that even when we are walking through the darkest valleys, we do not need to fear. Why? Because You are with me. Jesus’ last promise to us before he left this world was, “I will be with you always.” Did you hear that…always…through all good and the tough circumstances…not sometimes but always!

God showed us His love by sending His one and only Son to be born in a manger and then to die on a cross so that we can experience life together with God. Jesus came so that we could be with God, now and forever.

We can celebrate by being a witness of His “withness” to others. So, celebrate God’s love for you this Christmas by reaching out and caring for others who may be feeling very separated from God and alone. Here are some ideas:

  • Are there people who are hurting or people without families in your life? Take some time to call them, even weekly.
  • Check on your neighbors in a safe way.
  • Give to a foodbank or homeless shelter.
  • Find and Angel Tree program and give a gift to a child.

Celebrate Christmas by remembering God’s love for us in Jesus, God with us.

Celebrate Christmas with those closest to you.

Celebrate Christmas by remembering those who need God’s touch.

Christmas is about “God with us.” Your “withness” might be the way that a hurting person will experience the love of God, who is the source of ultimate hope.

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