Rev. Lonnie S. Atkinson
Special to The Guardian
Can you remember the name of the first baby born on P.E.I. this year?
It’s been a year to remember and forget. With over a month to go, many people are wishing 2020 to be done and gone.
A simple virus has led to a global pandemic. The pandemic and news of its spread has caused a run on simple things like toilet paper and flour.
While economies, as we have defined them, have been shaken, new ways to doing business, of exchanging goods and ideas have emerged. Work at home and home digital learning have led to increased family time. Who would have seen that by-product of a frighteningly deadly disease?
Essential workers have been dramatically redefined placing new value on oft underrated and dismissed vocations.
Bubbling has taken on a whole new meaning. Bubble inclusion and exclusion created dilemmas and blessings. We struggle with the loss of social interaction, of large event gatherings, of community festivals, of local ceilidhs. Yet Zooming, FaceTiming, and Live Streaming have democratized relationships, if you can afford the technology and can access the internet!
Churches have wrestled with how to value life by following public health wisdom while feeling separated. Online worship experiences have led to creativity and innovation. Though we long to gather as community, in community, we have reached so many in ways we never dreamed of before.
As I offered summer pulpit supply this past August Live Streamed services were recorded in our home. They had a hundred of views, far exceeding the number who would attend a Sunday service. I have even led a service via teleconference call with a congregation in New York City. It was like being on an old party line reaching dozens and dozens of worshipper neighbours each offering the Peace of Christ to all others.
While so much has seemed upside down, the rhythm of life, God’s gift of the eternal revealed in human form, has continued to be revealed.
Babies have been conceived and delivered. People have fallen in love and sought to confirm commitment. Children have learned to talk, walk, think and reason. Teens have celebrated getting their license, graduating, leaving home.
By the way, Casey James was the first born babe on the Island in 2020! He clocked in at 4:13 a.m. on Jan. 1. One wonders if he will be a singer with mother Meaghan Blanchard’s gifts.
As in all time the simple become profound. Who imagined H2O would describe the water which surrounds our wee Island and fills our bodies. Or E=MC2 would define transformative power.
Who would have imagined two thousand years ago when a teenaged girl in Galilee became pregnant the greatest mystery of all time would be revealed. From the simple, yet divine, beginnings of new life, all life was changed. The birth of Jesus heralded hope and possibility, promise fulfilled and purpose defined.
Yet we, centuries later, fail to see the wonder in the simple, the profound in the everyday. We make things complicated and do not appreciate the treasure of life received and revealed.
Jesus, whose incarnation celebration we await, urged us to come as children, to care for neighbours, to love one another.
This Advent sing the carols joyfully with masks on. God sees your shining face. Remember you are created in God’s image so smile. This Christmas keep it simple and discover the profound truth. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come”.
Rev. Lonnie S. Atkinson is a retired Presbyterian minister. A guest sermon runs regularly in Saturday’s Guardian and is provided through Christian Communications.