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This holiday season will be like no other that we have experienced in our lifetime. Why so different? One simple word: pandemic! COVID-19 has plagued the entire world. We are cautioned on gathering in large numbers indoors, however, limiting family gatherings is difficult when you have a big family. Selecting which family member can visit you during the holidays seems harsh. I spoke with one LHP employee who said her family celebrated Thanksgiving in shifts. Perhaps that’s something for your family to consider for Christmas.

There are events in our lives that make us wonder how we can bear the suffering and pain. If we have patience, there is a scripture that gives us hope: “God will make a way of escape.” There is also a song that mirrors these words: “He will make a way out of no way!”

God will make a way of escape so that you will be able to bear it. For example, before the Army sends a person into battle, it first sends the person to boot camp. You are up at dawn running miles with a heavy backpack, climbing over barricades, crawling through mud with the sounds of gunfire all around you and taking orders from authority figures you do not like, who make you do stuff you do not want to do. But when you pass the test you get to wear the uniform, fight for your country and serve with pride.

The pandemic will not last forever. We just need to have patience and faith to get through it. These are unprecedented times and there is no formula for selecting which family members you will gather with this holiday season.

For every problem we encounter in this world, God has a solution. However, it may not be the solution we have in mind. Think of the pandemic as our enemy. It seeks to defeat you by wearing you down, so winning is not a matter of escape but of endurance. Tenacious faith and commitment are one of the great themes in the bible. They are also the secret to victory. There is a biblical story about two men that is relevant to this season. When their prison doors miraculously opened, Paul and Silas realized that God’s plan for them was not to escape but to stay there and win over the enemy.

In the end we will win over the enemy of Covid-19 with a vaccine and then we will rejoice with happiness. Our family will once again socialize as before with laughter and joy. Remember these words during this season: “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” So Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!

By Chaplain Ghosten