Causing sickness and death and suffering and pain.
For ten months and counting, the virus had spread.
"We're ready for life to be normal," the world said.
"We're weary of sickness, of masks and quarantines,
Of lockdowns and face shields, of keeping things clean.
Weary of staying home, and social distancing, too,
Weary of e-learning, weary of Zoom.
"No more new normal!" the people all buzzed.
"When can we go back to life as it was?"
But the virus ignored them, pressing on like before
And with it came rumors of what was in store -
More restrictions and closures, more unrest and strife,
More tensions, more anger, more not-normal-life.
The virus-weary world looked ahead to December.
"This won't be like the Christmases we remember.
"No concerts or pageants like we had in the past,
No visits with Santa without wearing a mask.
No candlelight service with faces aglow,
No big group of carolers out in the snow.
"But we still can go shopping, the stockings to fill
As long as our income will cover the bill."
So the world spent Advent shopping online
Desperately hoping it all would be fine.
"The year has been awful, but maybe," it said,
"More stuff will help in the darkness ahead.
More movies, more music, more candy, more holly,
More Christmas trappings to make the day jolly.
"More trinkets, more tinsel, more trees and more lights!
More presents, more magic, more fun in our life!
Christmas-as-it-was is gone," the world supposed,
"But at least our presents are still wrapped up with bows!"
"Pooh pooh to the saints," the world was grumbling,
"Who needs their Christmas or the hope of Jesus coming?
They're finally waking up to what matters in life.
It's not fairy tales! It's what brings us delight!"
And then in the midst of the world's frantic pace,
It happened to notice the look on the face
Of its neighboring saints as they went through their days
With a song in their hearts, and on their lips, praise.
Each week, one step closer to the joy of the birth
Of the One who had come to bring real peace on Earth.
The virus had failed to keep hope away,
Somehow or other it came just the same.
And the world with its focus on presents and glee
Stood puzzling and puzzling, "Just how can it be?
"They don't have the help of normal traditions
Like potlucks at church or pageant auditions.
Singing is frowned on, and so are the crowds,
And most of what they like is just not allowed.
Even Christmas Eve service is canceled, we heard,
So this hope you're expressing, to us seems absurd."
Then the world thought of something it hadn't before.
Maybe peace, hope and joy don't come from a store,
Nor from traditions, nor absence of war.
Maybe peace, hope and joy mean a little bit more.
And what happened then? Well, just like in the spring,
The story's not done. What do you think?
How will you spend your Advent this year?
In worry and frenzy and panic and fear?
Will you follow the world, filling your days
With shopping and grumbling, or prayer and praise?
The world is weary, and I know you are, too,
But in unprecedented times, the world's watching you
To see if the Source of your hope and your joy
Is the God of Creation, or just lights and toys.
So this year at Christmas, let this be our prayer
As the virus and worry rage around everywhere.
May the world behold Peace when it looks at our lives.
May the world see Joy as we show it the Light.
May the world find Hope as we point to God's Son.
And may we show them His Love in 2021.