We all know about the coronavirus and things aren’t getting any better yet. But I have been impressed with the news coverage and the various governors, as well as the president and vice president, who have given us daily updates on the progression of the virus and how we can best protect ourselves from contracting the illness.
However, people are already getting a little stir crazy and the social feeds are awash with things to do in order to stay busy at home. There are video conference rooms being set up for people to have “coffee together” and enjoy each other’s company even though they can’t get together in person. I was listening to the news earlier and there is little tolerance for people who are doing stupid things during this quarantine. In fact, there were stories about people congregating in New York City parks and there was even a video of people playing basketball together. In this time of personal restraint, that just isn’t smart. But people seem to think that they are somehow immune from this potentially deadly virus.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who are reaching out on social media and helping to pass the time for others. My good friend, Dave, and his wife, Karen, actually broadcast themselves playing the piano and singing a song together this past weekend. And earlier this morning, Dave played a song in honor of a composer’s 90th birthday today. These little vignettes are only about five minutes long, but they speak volumes about reaching out to one another and bringing the community of people closer together.
Another thing that is happening is that people are trying to find hope in the midst of all this chaos. The stock market is a mess, we need more hospital rooms and equipment; and even masks and hand sanitizer are in short supply. But you know what people have plenty of? Christmas decorations… That’s right – people are starting to pass the time by putting up the Christmas decorations that they just took down several months ago. So why this trend?
Well, people are looking for hope and Jesus Christ is the hope of the world! What better way to illustrate hope than to put up decorations that we traditionally use to remember the birth of Jesus? So what if it is March? I guess that we could also use Easter decorations, but the fact of the matter is that we are already in Lent and within a month we will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus after His death on a cross. That is what we do this time of year – so it wouldn’t be all that remarkable to use additional Easter decorations to showcase our commitment to hope.
Rather, Christmas represents the time that God sent Jesus into the world to interact with us on a physical level – when Jesus actually took on His human form while still having His divine position as well. Fully man, fully God.
So as things get worse around the country, the appearance of Christmas decorations is increasing daily. One of our neighbors has lights on their front porch, others have actually put up trees in all their holiday splendor and it is becoming more common to see strings of lights in trees and bushes around the neighborhoods.
Needless to say, these outward displays of Christmas related decorations also reinforce the idea that believers have hope in Jesus and all that He stands for. In this time of crisis, who better to turn to that Jesus, Lord and Savior? And what better tangible demonstration of our hope?
Our verse tonight is from the apostle Peter. He encourages us to set our hearts on Jesus as our hope and as a demonstration to others of our commitment. Peter tells us, in 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus continues to be the hope of the world and we need to be able to cling to hope during this crisis. My prayer is that we will all listen to our healthcare providers and be a part of the solution – and not the escalation of the problems that our society faces with the coronavirus. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…