There’s a cartoon posted at my school with a quarantined Earth sick in a hospital bed, a nurse standing by, while the rest of the planets stand and watch through the glass. It’s a depiction of Earth in this pandemic and separated from the other planets, just as we are separated from one another.
This past Christmas, I received a gift from a student of a snowman in a snow globe, sitting on a red mug with a handle attached. We all have a snow globe at home. How many of us have happily imagined being in a snow globe, visiting that famous spot of our souvenir collection, or being that tiny and watched? The sparkles shine in the sun and light. The snow or foam balls fall lightly to the base until we shake it up again and stir up the sparkles and snow. Life in the globe seems quiet, happy. I have globes to remind me of vacations to Victoria, my engagement and of special occasions. (I don’t collect them but they are cherished gifts.) I was thinking of my snowman this past Christmas, stuck in a glass bowl, not being able to move or be with anyone. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
If we are the snowman, stuck in our homes (glass bubbles) and alone during this pandemic, especially during the holidays, then I thought of his base. His globe is snuggled in a mug, like someone’s hand. We, like the snowman, are being watched by God, snuggled in His protective hand. God is taking care of us, watching from above, but very near to us through the Holy Spirit. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to be with us in this sinful, sick world. Jesus walked the Earth 2000 years ago amongst sinners and sickness and healed them (and us!) with His Healing Power of hope, love, comfort and forgiveness, and then salvation through His death and resurrection on the cross. Have you ever broken your snow globe? What a mess! I used to work in a retail gift shop and every Christmas, we would say to the customer, “Don’t leave it in the car too long (it was cold outside) because the water will freeze and the glass will shatter.” (Funny how I remember that from 21 years ago!). If we break our globes (our bubbles), then we lose our joy and fuzzy-warm souvenir memories. There would be broken glass and clay figurines, water with sparkles and foam balls everywhere, waiting to be wiped up. There is the possibility of getting cut from the broken glass.
Despite this brokenness, God picks up the pieces in our lives and continues to mould and to shape us into the followers He would like us to be. So, take this quiet time to connect to God our Potter, who shapes us. Take this quiet time to reflect on the beauty of His creation and to connect in a different way with those around us – a smile, an act of kindness, a wave “hello” and listen and breathe in His Word. Jeremiah 18:6b says, “God says, ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.’”
You know the song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands?” Yes, God does have this whole world in His hands and He’s watching us and taking care of us. As the songwriter Michael Joncas writes in the chorus of “On Eagle’s Wings” in our LSB hymnal, #727
“And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of His hand.”