Aren’t you glad to see the end of this year? I suspect most people will be happy to put 2020 in the rearview mirror! We have learned new words (pandemic, coronavirus, etc.), new habits (social distancing, masking, compulsive hand sanitizing), and in some cases, new attitudes (“mask-shaming”). This year brought a lot of unfamiliar stresses into our lives –quarantining, hospitalizations, working from home, even the deaths of friends and loved ones. Social and political tensions have been “through the roof” almost from the first day of the year. Would any of us care to repeat2020?
Yet in reality, NONE of the things we’ve experienced in the course of this uncommonly unpleasant year are actually “new” –our grandparents or great-grandparents lived through something very similar 100 years ago, with the “Spanish Flu” pandemic. It included lockdowns, quarantines, masks, lots of stress, and many more deaths than we have seen this year: And neither the society nor the church collapsed as a result of it. Even though our experiences this year have been “once-in-a-lifetime” (we certainly hope!), 2020 should NOT be allowed to be the defining experience of OUR lives.
As Christians we should be able to look back and see the blessings God has provided in this year, not just the hardships and irritating inconveniences. Eight souls were born again into His kingdom here in Fayetteville in 2020! Even though they have been somewhat curtailed by the need to isolate and socially-distance, our worship assemblies have continued without a break and many, many more people have “attended” with us because of upgrades in our online streaming abilities and our use of Face-Book and video-conferencing software. We have managed to continue our support of mission and benevolent works. We have gained a dynamic and excited new coworker in Jonah Dawes, even as we bid Godspeed to a beloved family, David and Crystin Gulledge.
On a much larger scale, our society has NOT collapsed, even if it has been a bit bruised and dented. People still got married, babies were born, anniversaries and birthdays were still celebrated (albeit on a much smaller scale), and life has continued. Yes, 2020 has been a very unpleasant and unsettling year in many different ways, but we have survived it with our faith, our fellowship in the Lord, and our families largely intact thanks to the goodness and blessings of our Heavenly Father. As we eagerly anticipate the changing of the calendar, let’s focus on giving thanks to the Source of every good and perfect gift He has provided to us in 2020 (cf. James 1:17), and let’s praise Him for blessing us to see the end of this year with our hope of heaven intact!