Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Dear People,

We are called to celebrate the Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ during
2020, the year of the worldwide pandemic of the Covid 19 virus. God has given us his Child born in the manger as the greatest gift of all time. It is through the gift of his son that we are given strength and hope to survive the losses and overcome all evil and darkness of the past year.

During the past year, we have become painfully aware of the most important parts of life that we often take for granted. The 1946 “It’s a Wonderful Life” Christmas classic movie with Jimmy Stewart captures the way he was made aware of the importance of his life, something he took for granted. It was filmed when Jimmy Stewart and the world were returning to normal after the dark time of the Second World War. Besides being on television, it is showing in theaters again.

In the movie, Jimmy Stewart a banker in despair over being falsely accused, considers taking his own life.
He is stopped by an angel who shows him what would happen if he were not there. The effects on his wife, family, and town make him comprehend the importance of his life and the value of all the parts of life he took for granted. The angel succeeds in changing his mind to return to overcome what seemed impossible. The reflection upon this year has revealed the many formerly taken for granted parts of life which are now restricted to us. For example, anyone in or in care of those in senior care facilities, hospitals, or prisons, it
has been the most difficult year without seeing friends and loved ones. But for everyone, the inability to meet in person to celebrate holidays and anniversaries and to visit others has been painful. However, the time when we will be able to gather again is approaching, and we will forever value the precious time that we have together.

The lack of personal contact, to be unable to travel, to even be able to leave our homes, or to visit people
outside our family bubble has been difficult. For me, it has been a time for more personal prayer and for
those rainy day projects. Oddly, it seems that the year has been compressed with the sense that time is moving rapidly. There are not the usual breaks and events that help us mark the passage of time. The restricted schedule has made the passage of weeks seem like days or the passage of months seem like weeks. We look forward to returning to what we have missed.

Within a few months, we will lift the restrictions upon attendance to the Divine Liturgy, reinstate the Sunday and Holy Day obligations, and other activities. We thank all who cooperated with the restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus.

God’s gift this year is the vaccines and treatment which will save the lives of many people. We pray that God will show mercy and will bring this very difficult year of illness and isolation to an end. We pray that businesses and schools will be able to reopen and call their workers back. When it is safe, the Sunday and holy day obligations will be restored. Like the movie, we pray for the return to the wonderful joys of life in 2021.