I am excited that the vaccine is coming. Giving protection to those caring for others and then to those most vulnerable in our midst is an answer to prayer. Then promises of it being extended to all the rest of us begins to dissipate the cloud that has hung us for more than a year. While this vaccine may not eradicate the virus, it does remind me of the extremely positive impact the Salk vaccine had which stopped polio in its tracks in the early 1950s. Continue to pray for the success of our present vaccines so we will again experience and enjoy, with diminishing fear, the human connections we so desire and need.
The Coronavirus has forced us into isolation and distancing from one another. It has challenged the basic need we have for connective relationships. And the deeper we have been pushed into the corner of isolation and distancing, the easier anxiety and depression set in. What may have begun as acute reality can easily become chronic. But the vaccine is coming!
Well…. it is true, the vaccine is coming, thank God, but as beautiful and heralded this news is, it will not answer all our needs. Stopping us from being taken by the COVID-19—Virus will not
· automatically give us meaning and contentment in life,
· it will not be bringing back those who have died because of it, and
· it will not restore all relationships that were fragile before the pandemic hit.
With its devastating physical component, the virus has done much damage to business owners and their employees who have been compromised or laid off, to communities struggling to provide necessary services for their people, and to children (and parents!) who have struggled with basic educational process and needs. The vaccine will answer in part what we need, but it will not bring hope to all we face. We need more than a physical vaccine.
And we have it! It is the gift of His Son, Jesus, whose birth we will celebrate once again this Christmas. While the vaccine may bring us back into our relationships with each other, it is the Advent gift that brings us into our relationship with our God! This Advent gift gives us hope to face all our struggles not just our physical needs. Our Lord, the Advent gift, walks with us in all times—good, bad, or otherwise—promising to keep us safe and well. He is more present, more powerful, and more persistent in protecting us than any vaccine can ever hope to be.
I know there will be decisions to be made once the vaccine is available, whether we will take it or not. Each of us will need to decide for ourselves, hopefully keeping in mind the common good. As for God’s “vaccine,” the Advent Christ, take him into your heart and home. He is available right now. No waiting in line, no hoping we will be chosen. Christ comes to all as the Babe of Bethlehem and becomes exactly what we need to overcome our separation from our Creator while we move toward overcoming our physical separation with each other.
O come; O come Emmanuel; you are God’s “vaccine” for all our needs!