Dr. Fauci, I saw that you told CBS on Sunday that it’s “too soon to tell” whether we can have Christmas gatherings this year. I didn’t know that was still a question (and clearly neither did the celebrity crowds at the Met Gala or the Emmys, the crowds of protesters over the past year, or the crowds chanting “Let’s Go Brandon” — or something like that — around the country).
We’re not used to waiting for permission from unelected bureaucrats (or elected petty dictators, for that matter) before celebrating Christmas, so our festivities will go on. But if you don’t have somewhere to celebrate, you’re more than welcome to join us. There will be plenty of pecan pie, carols, lots of fellowship, and the joy that comes with knowing that our hope is not in this world but in the promise of eternity.
We’d love to have you join our church’s Christmas Eve service, in which we’ll gather under a big white tent in a field in the cool Florida December weather. We’ll be hugging loved ones left and right, rejoicing together. You could say we’ll be keeping our celebration within the same household, as the adoptive children of God.
We’ll enthusiastically join voices in singing beloved hymns about Christ coming to earth. We won’t be forcing people to muffle their worship or conceal their joy with flimsy pieces of virtue-signaling paper. And at the end of the service, we’ll reach out to those around us to light each other’s candles as we lift our voices in unity. You might even find yourself joining in.
On Christmas Day, our family will gather with loved ones to rejoice and remind each other of the gift of salvation. We’ll huddle around the fireplace and exchange presents, hugs, and stories. We’ll join around the table and take joy in the rite of sharing food, laughing as we reach over each other to pass the rolls and commending the hands that lovingly prepared it. We’ll squeeze lots of chairs together and buzz around the kitchen, stealing tastes of dessert while we pitch in with the dishes.
Even before December 25, we’ll be having friends over to gather in the living room and read the account of Christ’s birth while someone plays a carol on the piano. We’ll have a church breakfast potluck. We’ll probably swing by the local living nativity, peering under the shepherd headdresses lit by campfire light to find and greet familiar faces.
Dr. Fauci, if you’re planning to be alone on Christmas, we’d love to have you join us instead. There’s always plenty of food and good spirit to go around. We’d even hang a stocking for you, although that’s hardly the point of Christmas.
The point of Christmas is to celebrate the fulfillment of the promise of a Savior, and the good news that his sacrifice can make us right with God. The gospel doesn’t require a vaccine or a negative COVID test for entry.
Dirty, smelly shepherds were some of the first to hear the good news of the Savior’s coming. I’m sure the stable was full of germs and barnyard grime. Christ mingled freely with those whom the culture of his day labeled “unclean,” and criticized the local leaders for caring more about the washing of hands than the purifying of sinners.
Even more significant than our human germs, we have all been stained by the dirt of sin. Christ came to dwell with man, not to Germ-X our hands, but to wash our hearts. Not only did he look past the putrid grime of fishermen and the rotting flesh of lepers, he offers to cover the far greater stain of our unrighteousness. That’s why, after the joy of Christmas, we celebrate Easter, remembering the atoning sacrifice that allowed man back into fellowship with God.
And if you need somewhere to go for Easter, we’d be happy to welcome you then too.