As we come to Christmas 2020, we are winding down one crazy, Covid-induced year. Whatever we thought life should be like this past January, it has not happened. Mostly, it has gone down considerably. People have died. Politics have divided. The economy has been left a shamble for an awfully lot of people. Many are jobless. The crisis exposed a rift in our health care system, especially for the poor and non-white. If there was ever a year to be done with, it has been 2020. Now it is Christmas, and travel plans are messed up and many don’t have money for nice gifts.
In this way, it feels a lot like the first Christmas. Those were difficult days, too. Lepers edged out to the edge of town. The gap between rich and poor was an enormous source of embarrassment for the Master and his faithful. Power reigned over justice. Rules were bent by the privileged and enforced on the rest. It was a pretty lousy time.
Then God showed up in Jesus. The fact that we are surprised God shows up in lousy times is a testament to how blind we are to the very center of our own faith. It never crosses our minds that these are just the times God wants to touch with compassion and transform with justice. If God had wanted things to stay the way they were, God would have come in the shape of Herod or Pilate. They were the keepers of the status quo and, in no coincidence, the ones who benefited from it.
So, God forged ahead, through Jesus, into a world that needed change. It was a hard path, not void of joy. The cross was near the end. Resurrection was at the end. And glory.
Right now is when your community needs reminded that God came anyway—more importantly, God is here anyway. Right now is when this old world needs your church. Right now the body of Christ, your church, is to be doing hard things and finding joy doing them. Right now is God’s time—and our time. Right now!
From all of us at your United Methodist Foundation, Merry Christmas. We hope you feel the joy of Christ coming into your life, and the greater joy of taking His gospel to the world.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana