If I were to venture a guess as to what people are most looking forward to in 2021, it is the idea that we can leave 2020 in the past. It was a year unlike any other in our lifetimes, yet if we take time to see where God was at work, we can no doubt find some silver linings in the midst of it all. Our goal at my house was to try and see those little glimpses of good in the midst of the turmoil and disruptions to life, and to pray for the folks that were affected, or suffering, or even experienced tragedy.
I think in the past year my family has grown closer to each other, spent more quality time together (what else were we going to do?), and as a result are looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel with clearer hopes and dreams. Since we aren’t out of the woods yet, I hope you find some time to do the same, seeking and finding a path forward to make the most of 2021.
Of course, we don’t do this alone. Revelation 21 reminds us that God makes everything new. Each moment, each day, each year, all made new by God. He isn’t going to make the outcome of 2021 hinge on the trajectory of 2020, he will make 2021 an entirely new thing. So the question for you, for me, for our families, for our communities, and for our church, is “How will we live into this new day, this new year?”
My eyes have been opened to many things during this pandemic. I’ve seen behavior that shocked me, kindness that brought tears to my eyes, and so much anxiety and worry that I prayed over and over for God to break in and bring peace. It’s been a tough year in so many ways and it certainly is a gift to remember a God who gives us a fresh opportunity each day and year to embrace his goodness and love as we take each day at a time. I’m reminded of what Luther wrote in the small catechism, “In the morning, as soon as you get out of bed, you are to make the sign of the holy cross and say: 'God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit watch over me. Amen." Further directions follow: say the Apostles Creed, pray the Lord's Prayer...then "you are to go to your work joyfully."
Can it be that simple to greet each day as a new blessing? Can we take on that challenge of taking each day as a new creation, profound in it’s potential and ripe with opportunities to love God and serve our neighbor? It is my prayer for 2021 that we can do just that. Just a day at a time…