Symbols of the holiday season are everywhere. We are ready for that golden-brown turkey, giblet dressing and cranberry sauce. Christmas decorations appear at the mall, at our favorite grocery store, and in our neighborhoods.
Most importantly, the holidays are about enjoying relationships. Friends and family gather to share stories and to “love on each other.” Everyone is invited to come and enjoy time together. However, this year relationships will feel different. Holiday season 2020, specifically, will be very different in the midst of the pandemic.
This season will be different
As the number of people infected with the virus increase, our nation struggles to find ways to “fatten the curve”. How do you do that during the holidays? We are warned to wear our masks, practice social isolation—”stay at home” and exercise social distancing—”stay apart”.
The holiday season is most often depicted by images of merriment and joy. However, this year those images have been replaced with news broadcasts showing long lines to food pantries and food giveaways. The financial impact of the pandemic has become the face of poverty. Joblessness, hunger, and homelessness are new experiences for many who have previously lived comfortably. To our shame, it is far too familiar for others.
My favorite representation of Thanksgiving is the plenteous cornucopia, bursting forth with ripened fruit from its wide and ample opening. It is this image that has caused me to evaluate my own personal fruitfulness. Especially during this “season of COVID-19”. If I am “rooted and built up in Him” (Col. 2:7), am I bringing forth fruit pleasing to Him? Am I fruitful?
A season for reflection
Fruit is the product of fruitfulness. It is used metaphorically of work or deeds (Eph. 2:10; Phil. 1:11; 2 Pet. 1:8). While works are evidence of Christian activity, it does not always tell the whole story. Jesus’ teachings often encouraged listeners to look beyond what they could see with their physical eyes and to examine the motives and intentions behind the deeds (Matthew 7:16-20).
You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.
Fruitfulness is not “busyness for the Lord” but “transformed living” resulting in the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5). Fruitfulness reflects the heart and mind of our beloved Lord and Savior, in whose image we are to be daily conformed (2 Cor. 3:18).
A season for fruitfulness
God has placed us in this historic moment to reflect the heart and mind of Christ. We were created for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). It is our responsibility to align ourselves with God’s purpose and perform that which He has given us to do.
- Am I doing all I can to share the grace and love of Jesus with those in need?
- How can I demonstrate Jesus’ compassion during this season of COVID?
- How can I personally help others who are “weary and hopeless”?
We can be Jesus’ eyes that see the needs of others. We can be Jesus’ hands that move beyond sympathy to action. As Jesus’ disciples, let us no longer live for ourselves but live for Him who saved us (2 Cor. 5:15). God has “seeded” us into history to be fruitful. It is here we are to take root, grow, and be fruitful.
Discovering our fruitfulness
This holiday season will look and feel very different in the midst of the pandemic. Let us do our part to make it the beginning of something better. Something that lasts beyond the holiday season. Let it be the beginning of REAL LOVE for God and for others, even our enemies. Amid the pandemic, let us create a world that honors God, that celebrates Jesus, and that brings real “comfort and joy”.