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In the news recently is how the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, which at one time had a high “fully vaccinated” rate, is making plans to advise (but not yet require at this time) a Christmas lockdown for 2021.

In the U.S.A. there is a holiday called "Thanksgiving." It is a time to cultivate & express those things that one one is grateful for. While there is a temptation to have a doom and gloom attitude about the future in regards to COVID, there is a spiritual imperative to give thanks regardless of what might happen.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 reads:

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

C.S. Lewis once wrote:

We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is ‘good,’ because it is good, if ‘bad’ because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.

Some things that I have heard or read about include a stronger emphasis on Jesus being the reason for the season, with less commercialization taking place. Another good coming out the lockdown of 2020 was a more widespread emphasis & use of internet technology to reach people in their homes. Also, the church being perceived as a community of believers instead of just a building is good theology.

Assuming that there is a legitimate health concern about those not being fully vaccinated spreading COVID, what potential good has been observed that came out of Christians abiding by another lockdown? What growth has been perceived as happening in the year 2020 during the Christmas lockdown?

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  • This feels... off topic
    – Luke Hill
    Nov 17, 2021 at 5:05
  • @LukeHill I made some slight adjustments. But if it could be edited to make it more relevant to Christianity what would you suggest?
    – Jess
    Nov 17, 2021 at 5:31
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    I've made a slight edit to the format of your question to try and make it clear. If you don't approve, you can decline to accept it.
    – Lesley
    Nov 17, 2021 at 10:01
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    The new title is much better: Did the lockdown of 2020 help Christianity grow in numbers, reform or renewal? The thing is that I feel that the question has been ask to soon after the situation. Personally, I think it will take a couple more years to see all the impact of the lockdowns on churches and Christian living. Renewal will take time!
    – Ken Graham
    Nov 17, 2021 at 16:09

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I am unable to access the article published in the Express newspaper and cannot comment on the claims made therein. What this “Christmas lockdown” might involve is probably speculative at this moment in time. Apart from that, I seldom believe claims written in tabloid newspapers unless they are supported by irrefutable sources.

Having said that, I wholeheartedly agree with you that Christmas should focus on Christ Jesus rather on eating, drinking and spending money, which is nothing more than commercialisation.

If I understand your question correctly, you are not really asking about what might or might not happen in Gibraltar but whether the previous lockdowns have resulted in the growth of Christianity and whether there has been reform and/or renewal.

I can only comment on what has been happening in my town, which is located in a rural area of Scotland. I hope this will not be viewed as opinion-based because I can provide simple statistics to support the growth, reform and renewal of one Christian church.

Pre-lockdown a small Baptist church in my town had gone into decline. There were only five members and the old church building was structurally unsafe and had to be sold. This left the very small congregation of believers renting a very small building (it used to be a toilet next to the ruined abbey and the car park). They had been praying for many years for revival and, more urgently, for an accredited minister to accept the vacant position.

Weeks before the first lockdown, a Baptist minister was offered and accepted the post and moved himself and his family to our small town to answer the call. There were still only five church members.

Two lockdowns and 18 months later, there are now 25 church members and the possibility of renting a much larger property in the town centre where we can reach out into the community to serve and to share the gospel. This is not as a result of technology (although on-line services were deployed) or government intervention, but can be directly attributed to answered prayers – heartfelt prayers for revival in this small town.

My friends in the local Evangelical church (non-denominational) have also experienced growth and are now back out into the community to reach out to people who have suffered, who are lost and lonely and who have yet to experience the love of God.

In spite of Covid-19, lockdowns and vaccination programmes, the good news of the kingdom, which is all about Christ Jesus, continues to be declared without apology or excuse and God has blessed us.

Edit: I agree with you that there is a spiritual imperative to give thanks regardless of what might happen (1 Thessalonians 5:18). There is also a spiritual imperative not to judge others, but to leave the judging to God. Just because some ‘conservative’ Christians might refuse to be vaccinated is no reason to tar all of them with the same brush. We stand or fall before the judgment seat on the basis of our individual words and deeds. Let us focus on our own standing before God and leave God to deal with the rest.

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  • This is helpful. I’m interested in this question in light of what in the USA we call Thanksgiving - a time to cultivate a spirit of gratitude. And yes, if there was another lockdown as Gibraltar may or my not indicate, should Christians approach it with a doom & gloom attitude?
    – Jess
    Nov 17, 2021 at 14:30
  • @Jess Doom and Gloom? No way! Nothing can silence Christians who love the Lord. As well as cultivating a spirit of gratitude we should cutivate a desire to see true repentance and revival in these dark days.
    – Lesley
    Nov 17, 2021 at 15:45
  • But does a death count have to go up before revival happens? The odd thing is that, if I’m right about the benefits of being fully vaccinated, conservative Christians who refuse to be vaccinated will be hit the hardest by the next few COVID waves. Will judgement begin at the house of God?
    – Jess
    Nov 17, 2021 at 17:34
  • @Jess Revival is not necessarily linked to a death count (from war, or a pandemic, or a natural disaster). Revival happens when the prayers of the saints below reach into heaven above. This is a spiritual phenomenon. I have no idea whether 'conservative' Christians refuse to be vaccinated. I am what you could call 'conservative' but am all in favour of vaccination. I don't see that as linked in any way to Christianity. But you are absolutely right to ask if judgement begins at the house of God, and the answer is YES. But what does Covid-19 have to do with how God judges His own people first?
    – Lesley
    Nov 17, 2021 at 19:46
  • are there cases of revival occurring in times of prosperity and general peace? That's a good question.
    – Jess
    Nov 18, 2021 at 0:04

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