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Experience the Joy of Christmas, Despite Challenging Times
By Cora Jackson-Fossett, Religion Editor
Published December 23, 2021

Pastor Michael J. Fisher (Courtesy photo)

Just as the world prepared to celebrate and enjoy family and friends during the holidays, another variant of the COVID-19 virus roared to life, threatening to send everyone back into seclusion. Adding to that public health crisis are ongoing societal ills such as homelessness, climate change and racism.

Before getting totally distressed and falling into depression, consider following the recommendations of L.A.-area ministers. They are unanimous in their opinion that believers can have joy at Christmas, despite challenging times. The input of these spiritual leaders is a reminder to Christians that “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

Love, health and strength were the three words that Pastor Michael J. Fisher of Greater Zion Church Family in Compton used to illustrate why people should be joyful this season. “I believe that we have reason to have joy during Christmas if you have anyone to love on,” he said.

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“So many people pass away from one holiday to the next that it’s easy to become depressed about the people who have departed. But, if you still have people around you who care about you, pray for you, check on you, want to hug you and you can hug them back, that’s reason enough to have joy.

“The second reason is health, strength and life – any parts of it. It may not be perfect, you may not feel as good as you used to, but as long as you still know your name and can move around just a little bit, you still have reason to be joyful about that,” insisted Fisher.

Rev. Judi Wortham (Courtesy photo)

The prospect of great things should boost our optimism about the future and lead to joy, according the Rev. Judi Wortham, an associate pastor at First AME Church of Los Angeles. Detailing two reasons, she first listed, “Hope, expectation and anticipation of the ‘wonderfulness’ of what God is already preparing to do in our lives in 2022.”

As for her second point, Wortham summed it up in one word – grateful. “We should be grateful because whatever we need in 2022, God’s got it and all we have to do is believe and reach up and grab it!”

Pastor John E. Cager III (Courtesy photo)

Offering more reasons for believers to have joy during the Christmas season, Pastor John E. Cager III of Ward AME Church in Los Angeles, explained, “Those of us who’ve made it to the end of 2021 have survived medical attacks, financial calamities and personal traumas simply because God still wants us to thrive in the land of the living!

“So whatever triumphs or trials 2021 has brought, we can have joy knowing that it was God’s will that brought us to this season,” he asserted.

Pastor Edward “Eddie” Anderson (Courtesy photo)

Pastor Edward “Eddie” Anderson of McCarty Memorial Christian Church in L.A.’s West Adams District shared a practical assessment of the holiday, relating, “The work of Christmas has always been to interrupt our lives and remind us to find the lost, heal the broken, rebuild the nation and find the joy of connection in our heart especially in unexpected situations.

“May the miracle of unexpected joy be born anew in each of you as you safely gather with loved ones near and far.”

Merry Christmas!

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Categories: Religion
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