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Giving COVID-19 for Christmas

Before we can discuss giving COVID-19 for Christmas, we need to begin with the question that is basic in the dialogue: how important is life?

Disregarding the awful disregard for life in the Old Testament, the New Testament is a new creation that manifests and advocates the love of God. Christmas and the coming of Jesus symbolized this love. So humans must be loved by God to warrant such a sacrifice. That gives every human being sanctity.

While most of us accept this as a matter of undeniable theology, we fail to transfer the love of God to our fellow beings. In other words, we cheapen the importance of life by trading it for material prosperity, by letting our own people die from inadequate health care, by blotting out the 2,500,000 children that starve to death each year, for a million other things.

COVID-19 has taught us a lot about ourselves. It has proved that the life God created is now cheap enough to dismiss thousands of deaths every day.

Just as we did at Thanksgiving, we are going to give COVID-19 for Christmas.

For some, Christmas is just another excuse for a lost holiday by celebrating with friends at the local pub as long as it is open. That will give COVID-19.

Then there are families that will share COVID-19 around their Christmas feast. Being one of the best breeding spots for COVID-19, families will then spend time mourning the stupidity of giving a COVID-19 party for those they love the most. “But we’ve always had a family Christmas.” That will give COVID-19.

Churches will be giving COVID-19 wholesale for Christmas when they swing open the doors and call their parishioners to play Russian roulette with the virus. It is very likely that churches will be the leading cause of COVID-19 deaths in early January. God glorifies men and women as His children and churches will be killing the love of His kingdom.

And when choking and death spread throughout the country, who will be left with the hopeless task of saving those celebrants who would not save themselves? The doctors, nurses, therapists and other Good Samaritans who had nothing to do with the calamity.

In recent interviews with seven nurses from around the country, the Washington Post reported the pandemic from their side of the story. For them, life is not cheap. Here are some excerpts:

“I’m actually scared, and I’ve never been scared at work before. I am scared that we will lose control.”

“She was having a hard time breathing, and she grabbed my hand and looked at me. She goes, “Am I going to die.”

“Early in the pandemic, I remember walking into the room and this young patient was crying and she asked me if she was going to die. The patient started physically trembling in the bed. I couldn’t take it anymore, and I went over and just held this patient because that’s what I would want somebody to do for my children.”

“We did cry in the beginning….Someone in their 20s was very difficult for us…What a young life that was, and they’re not here anymore. Because of the virus. That’s hard. It’s very hard.”

“The amount of death with COVID is profound. As nurses we have learned to process death, but the amount of death happened in such a short span of time – that’s what has been overwhelming.”

“I cry every day when I go to work and I cry every day when I walk to my car after work.”

For many, life is cheap but not for the health care workers who face death every day.

Lloyd Omdahl is a former lieutenant governor of North Dakota and former political science professor at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.

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