December 14, 2020
By Will Postma
We have all done a lot of waiting this year. Waiting to enter into grocery stores, waiting to see if schools will be safe, waiting for COVID tests and COVID results, waiting to visit parents and grandparents in long-term care homes, waiting to hear whether our hospitals will be able to meet the needs of sick people.
We continue to wait for peace in Yemen. For all boiling water advisories to be lifted in Canada. For a decrease in the number of hungry people all over the world, especially given the tragic increase we have seen in 2020 among those already vulnerable and exploited.
It’s been a difficult year. In January, we would begin conversations with ‘how are you?’ By the end of the year, it has become ‘how are you managing?’
We are waiting to get to the other side of this pandemic.
There was a lot of waiting in the story of Zechariah. He and his wife Elizabeth had been waiting a long time to have a child. In the first chapter of Luke, people were waiting, prayerfully, for Zechariah to come out of the temple of the Lord where it was his turn as a priest to burn incense. It was taking a long time. Zechariah had to wait for his speech to return after doubting the words of the angel Gabriel who told him that indeed, he and Elizabeth, in their old age, would have a child – one who would make ready a people for the Lord.
Hope, peace, joy and love are taking us through Advent and to the birth of Jesus. How encouraging it is that hope, peace, joy and love can also take us to the other side of Christmas, into a new year and, we pray, a time of greater fairness and care for creation.
Even in these pandemic times, how warm it has been to see smiling eyes behind face masks, to have conversations with otherwise strangers in long curbside pick-up lines, to have more time to spend with neighbours, to virtually join and share about PWRDF and our partners at church services and diocesan volunteer gatherings all across Canada.
May these moments of togetherness encourage us to keep reaching out to our neighbours in Canada and around the world. And let us be mindful, prayerful and thankful for the people that drive our public health systems. I know too well from the work of our PWRDF partners and my family’s time spent in Asia and Africa that equitable access to quality public health care varies ever so tragically across the globe.
When Zechariah’s speech returned – after he wrote down a big yes to Elizabeth’s pronouncement of their child’s name as John – he was filled with gratitude. Zechariah praised God for redeeming his people and for his tender mercy. May the good news of the birth of Jesus be just what we’ve been waiting for.