On December 21st, I patiently waited for the sun to set. Witnessing this wondrous miracle from God caused much-needed excitement. The last time Jupiter aligned with Saturn was over 800 years ago. I joined several of our neighbors as our eyes scanned the southwest of the clear California skies. At first nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary, so we all went back to our homes. About 45 minutes later I stepped out and could not believe the breath taking sight. Our neighbor Kyle was star gazing as well. I was running around like Chicken Little; I wanted to announce this fascinating event to the whole world. I called out to all the neighbors in our cul-de-sac and, with great excitement pointed to the Star of Bethlehem. This title is fitting because the Three Kings witnessed the heavens open to reveal its special blessing to give us hope. I called my granddaughter Maddie and Sonja, my daughter. I called Helen and Sarah and ran to Lalo, our neighbor, and made his family come out to witness this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.
I keep asking God for signs to remain optimistic about the last week of the worst year. No physicists, scientists, medical doctors have given us the hope that we need to see past this pandemic. The entire world is captivated by this elusive virus. The more it rears its ugly head, the more despair it spreads.
I remain indifferent to any immunization. I understand and respect those who choose to receive the immunization, but I will not. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) it takes 10 years for a drug to be developed and approved for prescriptions. We’ve all seen countless commercials for prescription medications on television; at the end of the advertisements all the side effects are listed. It’s alarming when one of the dangers of a medication that is used for depression may cause suicide. I would consider this a paradoxical contradiction, because how does the good outweigh the bad in this situation?
I remain skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine. Just because it has been approved by the FDA does not guarantee its safety. According to Drugwatch, drug manufacturers recall 4,500 drugs and medical devices annually. I pray that these new drugs will not have any serious side effects. To those who choose to take the vaccine, pray to the Holy Spirit before you make that conscious decision. Another great concern is the ethics in the manufacture of these drugs by the pharmaceutical companies. No aborted fetal cell lines were used in the production or development of the Moderma and Pfizer vaccines. This does not mean that they were operating in ethical practices because they did use aborted fetal cell lines in the testing. AstraZeneca does use the aborted fetal cell lines in their COVID -19 vaccine.
The first sign, as I’ve already mentioned, was the beautiful Star of Bethlehem. How can God not be speaking to us? This phenomenon was for the world to witness. Our earth is merely a speck compared to the rest of the universe. God created this event to offer us much-needed hope. Not a day passes without me praying for someone who is suffering from COVID-19. Before I was praying for strangers, but now its hit home; several of our immediate family members have breathed in the hellish vapors and have fallen ill. Many of my friends are fighting this invisible demon, some are worse than others. When I pray, I naively ask God to give me a sign as to when this darkness will dissipate.
Last December I received two beautiful Christmas cactus plants. I placed them in the kitchen bay window. Much to my surprise, they produced beautiful blooms. Even though these plants are said to bloom once a year around Christmas, this was the first time they have bloomed. By the first week of December I noticed an abundance of white bulbs. This is another sign of hope because God’s beauty is being restored. I smile while doing my dishes and take in the rich colors of the pink and and white blooms. The other Christmas Cactus displays more Christmassy colors of deep reds. I’m amazed at the hand of the Creator and how He can bring joy in this time of distress.
The Christmas Lights
I know that many non-Christians celebrate Christmas. If you took the time to understand the purpose of this season and why it’s celebrated, you would recognized the light of God. The first Christmas lights were waxed candles. The candles were lit for only a few seconds; this was symbolic of the “light of Jesus.” When we light up our neighborhoods we are in one accord with what the spirit of Christmas represents. We wait with anticipation to celebrate the arrival of the Christ Child. We witness a positive change in the atmosphere and, though we are in the midst of a pandemic, our Lord’s light comes forth. As humans we are naturally drawn to the light because light expels all the darkness. This is what Jesus does: He sheds His light so that we can see with eyes of wisdom. We can experience the Holy Spirit anywhere: in our prayer closets, in our cars, or while watering our plants. We can go to Him and ask for help or we can intercede for others. I feel a special connection to the Holy Spirit when praying the Rosary. The powerful words of the “Our Father” can break strongholds, while “Hail Mary’s” and her mighty intercession break barriers. I am a believer in asking God for all that I have. He directs my prayers as to how I’m to pray. He gives me the time and special attention that is needed for my pleas. Though the spirit of Christmas draws us to desire Him more intimately, He is always waiting for us to run to Him. Jesus is my strength in all that I do, and the Word of God says that NOTHING is impossible for Him (Luke 1:37). This means that He will meet all of our special needs.
We are a universe of numerous races, but we all belong to one family. God is our Father and Mary is our Mother. Not everyone was born with great parents, but we have a Father in heaven Who watches over us, He wants the best for us. If you are steeped in sin, ask Him for help. If your marriage is falling apart and you see no hope, God can repair any broken relationships. If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, ask Him to deliver you from your dependence.
Make this year matter! Do not waste another Sunday without going to church and worshipping God. Become the person you were called to be, and if you don’t know what that is, ask God. He has gifts stored up for us, and they are much better than the gifts you receive on Christmas morning. These gifts come with a lifetime guarantee, and our Father in heaven wants to bestow them on each of us.
Dear Heavenly Father, I humbly approach Your holy throne. I lift up all those who are fighting this dreaded pandemic. Lord, hear my cries for those who have lost loved ones. Shed Your light of love and comfort over them and bring them peace. Lord, I beg You to make 2021 a year of restoration. Allow Your Holy Spirit to reign in the hearts of men. Mother Mary, I meet you at the foot of the Cross to intercede for this world. Amen.