At Christmas, we remember that the Alpha and Omega, Jesus, who was in the beginning (alpha) and in the end (omega), was born in a small middle east town south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem.
Speaking of Greek letters, when I was in seminary, I learned to read the gospels (the good news of Jesus) in its original language. Now, I get to apply my education by translating what wave of variant is around.
As the pandemic becomes an endemic, the season of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas which represent the time of “waiting” for a Messiah) enters a 3rd year. We are still waiting.
Christmas 2020 was during a peak time of Covid. But do you remember? There was hope!!!! Vaccines were rolling out. In church speak, Faith was excited that everything might be “normal” by Easter (in April).
We pre-recorded a Christmas Eve worship service and decorated our prayer garden. Did you remember walking in a winter wonderland to celebrate the birth of our Savior? The waiting for Covid relief was about to end. Hang on, just a little longer! Or so we thought.
Throughout this year, we had signs that the end was near—and not a 2nd coming kind of end—but an end to unprecedented times, quarantines, and reports from epidemiologists. Do you remember the time when you didn’t know what an epidemiologist did???
Did you know that you can buy Dr. Anthony Fauci action figures?! It makes a great last-minute stocking stuffer!
Over the summer, life without masks became normal again! The CDC said it was safe to be unmasked and not transmit the virus if you were vaccinated.
It was fun while it lasted.
Delta became famous—taking the expression “we love to fly and it shows”—to whole new heights. This Greek letter was flying around and highly contagious! Just in time for the State Fair and the school year!
That wave started to taper off. All Hallow’s Eve was saved (Halloween)!!!
Just when we thought the scary stuff was behind us, the most difficult Greek letter to pronounce—Omicron—is the nu variant (sorry, couldn’t resist the Greek humor—that’s the letter “n”).
What will happen next? Will the wait be over?
If I’ve learned anything since March 2020, it’s that this Covid virus is resilient, determined, and constantly changing.
But I’ve also learned something. So are we.
So is Faith. We adapted and figured out ways to model resiliency in the face of constant change. The stories from our faith tradition are literally filled with people who’ve gone through trials and tribulations. We know God goes with us throughout the challenges.
We’ve made videos, worshiped or met outside, welcomed people back into the sanctuary. Sometimes, we did all of this on the same weekend.
Why? Because I know how important it is to deliver that divine message of hope to wherever you are.
This season is my favorite—Advent into Christmas. I love to talk about hope and how, even in our broken world, we are called to help each other heal.
I love that our church is focused on the care and love of one another, especially in how we treat neighbors who believe, act, and celebrate differently than ourselves.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holy-days to you!
May 2022 be beta—ahem, I mean better—than the last… and hopefully, we don’t have to learn any more Greek letters in the year ahead.
Pastor John wrote this article for the Dec 23rd issue of the Forest Lake Times