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Northview Blog The Perfect Time For a Celebration

December 8, 2020

The Perfect Time For a Celebration
The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most stressful years of modern times. Suffering through a pandemic that has horribly impacted our health, families, businesses and life in general does not usually call for a celebration or a party. To top it off, riots, new attention to racism and political polarity have become front-line issues. Many would rather just stay in bed and sleep through it.
As Christmas arrives on the calendar and we put up our trees and decorations, many are struggling to find joy and are looking for a reason to celebrate. Are times worse now than ever, and is life so bad that we truly have no reason for hope and celebration? I think not.  
Psalm 66 (NIV) begins, “Shout for joy to God, all the earth! Sing glory of His name; make His praise glorious. Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!’”
You think you have it bad? In the days of Jesus’s birth, the region was dominated by the Romans and the elite class. There was no such thing in Jesus days as the middle class. The majority of society lived a peasant lifestyle, which meant living below—or at best, just meeting—the level of poverty. Heavily burdened with taxes of all kinds, society had no hope of ever being in control of their own destiny. Elections? They wished.

The world lived in a false sense of peace some 20-plus years before Jesus’s birth, during the Pax Romana (Roman Peace) times, to about 100 years after his death. The peace in the land was not a result of true peace, but of the squelching of any rebellion by the legions of Roman soldiers. If you caused trouble, you might end up being burned alive as an example to others. Slavery was celebrated and was a measure of wealth. The political and societal time can be referred to as “The Roman System of Inequality.” The state had little to no concern for the poor who made up 90 percent of society. So, maybe we do have a reason to get out of bed today after all.  
No surprise that it was right amid this time of “False Peace” that the birth of Jesus occurred. I think it is a good reminder of our complacency. Just think about a year ago, preparing for Christmas 2019 pre-COVID. As a nation and as people, we were cruising on autopilot. We really didn’t need God, did we? We were doing quite well on our own, thank you very much.
Who, reading this article, hasn’t seen in their current COVID lives improved prayer, higher levels of appreciation for family and small things, and a deeper reliance and dependency on their faith and on the Lord? Guys, we can’t do this ourselves, and we can’t put our hope in the measures of the world. When times are bad, we need to celebrate what we have. More now than ever, we should take solace and see with certainty that our hope needs to be in the Lord and not in a world that only lets us down…right when we think it has our back.  
Christmas, the birth of hope, is coming at just the right time for our nation and our people. As we exit our own “Pax America” time, our false time of peace, we need to rely fully on Jesus and his gift of hope that was given at just the right time. This year, we should put the tree up earlier and decorate it with more decorations than ever before. We should send more cards to encourage others. And maybe, we should invite the neighbor to join us in person for Christmas Eve services at Northview Church, or at Bedside Baptist or St. Mattress (as my family calls the online services).  
As Christians, we are to be the face of Christ until He comes again. When we show our fear and anxiety, our sour faces say there is no hope. When our attitude is upbeat and our expression is that of joy, our faces say we have nothing to worry about.
As we take this time to consider the birth of our savior Jesus Christ, let’s recall what the shepherds must have thought as they followed the beacon in the sky. Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of darkness a light has dawned.”  
Wow, this is what Christmas is about. We have seen the light. No, it’s not because our specific candidate may have won, or our 401K has returned or our company survived COVID. No, it’s because those aren’t important except here on earth. What is important is that we have hope and a future in Christ Jesus, and that is worth celebrating 24/7/365!
To put this all into current language: You have been invited to a Zoom call with Christ. Please accept it and be prepared to turn your cameras and microphone on. There is joy to be spread throughout the world as we celebrate the birth of the Spotless Lamb.

by Jeff Pinyot

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