Advent,  Faith & Life,  Holy Land,  One Word,  unexpected blessings

2020 Reflection: Savor

The season of Advent seem like the perfect time to reflect on this past year and begin to look ahead.

Here’s the post I first wrote about how I chose this word and the Scriptural connection.

It started rather silly with a gift we purchased for ourselves at Christmas time last year. After we were married, Jack and I decided we would not give gifts to one another for the holidays, but that travel or an experience would be our way to make memories.

An unexpected financial donation came to us and we decided to purchase a fancy coffee machine! Each morning that I’ve gotten to use it, I’ve SAVORED every sip of delicious espresso!

I began 2020…
…with a one month sabbatical, to SAVOR the gift of rest after 7 years of faithful service.
…with much hope that I would finally be able to wrap up a book project I had started well over a year ago.
…full of renewed energy to continue in ministry, serving with a new teammate and many possibilities.

On January 1, 2020, I was on a tour bus in the Galilee region of Israel, headed to the Jordan River. It was a trip of a lifetime and has resonated with me everyday, since I returned home. I will never stop sharing the connections between the Holy Land, God’s Word and my relationship with Jesus. It is a trip I will SAVOR for the rest of my earthly days.

In mid-March, life stopped and changed quite dramatically for the whole world. Work, school and everyday routines were changing minute by minute. Decision fatigue became the norm for days, weeks and months at a time. We had to make space for change and be adaptable to whatever new disruption would come next.

Initially it was a treat to be at home together, SAVORING quality time with family. But for many of us, it was a challenge for home to also be a place to work and attend school. There were distractions on top of worry, mixed with partisanship and civil injustice. With no commute time, I very easily dove into overworking in a job that had already become my primary identifying feature.

I found myself savoring the good, the bad and the ugly situations, which became a tangled mess of emotions for me to unpack. Some days, I found myself deep in lament. Other days, I was so very thankful for my health and relationships.

On top of all the upheaval around us, things became increasingly stressful in my corner of the world. It was unexpected and swift, yet God was ever present and clear in helping to direct my next steps. At times the pain and grief have been unbearable, but God has kept his promise to be with me.

As we begin preparations to celebrate the birth of Jesus once again, I am reminded of Mary’s journey to the manger: unexpected and swift. An angel came to tell her she was pregnant. She was betrothed to Joseph, but they weren’t yet married, so how could this be?

Mary knew about sin. Mary knew the world was broken and in need of a Savior. She knew the child she would give birth to would endure so many hardships. Yet, she moved forward, trusting God. And when that baby was born, she SAVORED the SAVIOR. In a place of lowly birth, without family nearby, and with challenges moving forward, she paused and treasured the gift that God had given to her and to the world.

We all are running towards 2021, with little desire to look back at this year of grief and hardship. Even still, I reflect on His love, lament in the grief and celebrate God’s faithfulness. I still find peace in the moments to SAVOR all that the SAVIOR has done for me.

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