We all need to cultivate the ability to see the positives in our lives. 2020 was undoubtedly a year that none of us will soon forget. Yet even amid a whole host of challenges, we have emerged as people who can muster the resolve to face whatever is before us with hope.
It goes without saying that we are all hoping for a better year and that some semblance of normalcy will return in 2021. It is also essential that we remember the lessons we learned in 2020. If 2020 taught us anything, it was to embrace change. Change is an unavoidable fact of life, yet as human beings, we often resist change.
Humanity faced a record amount of change in 2020. Take care lest you view everything about the past year in a negative light. Our nuclear family, while facing the strains of a pandemic, have also grown closer. We’ve also grown closer as a community of faith as we acknowledge our challenges and face them together.
On New Years Day, not much had changed overnight. Every one of us continues to assess risks and make decisions for our future, the future of our family, and the future of our faith community. Much of the shopping done for our family is online shopping. Whenever we need something from the store, usually just one of us enters, picks up the necessary items, and returns to the vehicle.
After enduring two separate four-person quarantines, we try to ensure that there are adequate supplies on hand. While we hope that we won’t need to tackle that again, we are pragmatic in our preparations. Our closets and cupboards are not packed, and we certainly are not hoarders, but stocks are adequate should the need arise again. Proper planning prevents poor performance.
Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” What are you aiming at in 2021? Do you want to lose weight? Plan healthier meals, eat less of them, and get up and go for a walk. Are you looking for a friend? If you set out to be a friend, you will begin to find them everywhere you look.
Most of us, especially if we were asked by another Christian, would say we want to grow in our faith. I think that was precisely the objective of Barbi’s conversation with our kids this past Sunday. Her list of seeming negative traits was inverted to become positives. Being a disciple of Jesus means that we are intentional about our spiritual practices. As we enter into the new year, what if we began to intentionally take up some spiritual disciplines that would help us to grow in grace?
Nearly every week, I encourage you to set aside some time to read your bible, pray, meditate, and be alone with God. Caring for the needs of those who are isolated, vulnerable, or needy is vital to our life of faith. Attending worship and participating in the sacraments has always been at the heart of discipleship.
Positive change can be as simple as laying down a habit one would like to quit and take up a new, more positive habit in place of it. Take a moment and think of one thing you would like to change about yourself in the coming year. Now just replace it with a habit that will allow you to grow in your faith.
Think about the monumental change that Jesus’ followers went through following the resurrection. No longer would they be led by their revered rabbi, but by those who were far more susceptible to the frailties of human existence, like Peter the denier. Yet even Jesus never preached a sermon where 3000 persons accepted the gospel at one time. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, a group of 120 people swelled to thousands, and the gospel began to spread over the known world. What might happen if we caught fire in the same way?
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
II Corinthians 5:17 Pastor Kenny