The year 2020 will end soon. Few will mourn its passing. It will be remembered as one of the most difficult years, if not the most difficult year, of our lives. Global pandemic. Racial injustice. Political turmoil. Economic uncertainty. The list is long.
Thus, it was something of a relief, something of a small victory, to prepare the December 2020 preaching and worship schedule for this edition of the Transmitter. It was a sign that this hard year is drawing to a close. It was a signal that 2021 is on its way. None of us can know what 2021 will hold but if you are like me you find yourself saying, “The odds are that it will be better than 2020.”
Karen and I join Aaron and Teresa in looking forward to the birth (due in early January) of a baby girl, their first daughter, our first granddaughter. The birth of every child needs to be greeted as sign of God’s will that the world goes on, as a sign of God’s promise to save and to bless. We certainly receive this child with that understanding.
Perhaps the best that can be said of 2020 is that it provided ample opportunity to learn and to grow. Zoom church. Distance learning. Virtual gathering. On-line medical appointments. Civic engagement from afar. Facing difficulty. Overcoming obstacles. Loving our enemies. Loving ourselves.
The counsel of scripture is that we receive life’s obstacles as opportunities to grow in faith, hope and love. I like to think that at LABC we have done that. I like to think that at LABC we are doing that. I like to think that in years to come 2020 will be remembered not only for its difficulties but for the ways we grew.
As Luke draws his account of the birth of Jesus to a close, he writes, “The child grew up and became strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.” (Luke 2:40, Common English Bible) As the last month of the year begins, let’s take the opportunity to reflect of the ways we have grown stronger, the ways in which our wisdom has increased and the ways God’s favor, even in the face of unprecedented challenge, has been upon us.
Then, having offered a prayer of gratitude, let’s take what we have learned and prepare to put it to use in 2021.