Many of us are ready to put this year in our rearview mirror and look forward to 2021. Yet, each of us could also name so many blessings that God has provided. If we look at the whole, it’s an overwhelming mess, but let’s look at it through the lens of our Savior, Jesus.
What was it like the year Jesus was born? Was the year as hard as what we have all experienced in 2020? I venture to say it certainly had its challenges.
King Herod was ruling in Jerusalem. Herod and his family were domineering despite being practitioners of the Jewish faith. And when Jesus was born, the King sought to kill him and in the process, killed thousands of young boys.
A census had to be taken and everyone had to travel to their hometown to be registered. Yes, we had a census in 2020, but all we had to do was fill out a form and hit the “send” button. Can you imagine if we all had to travel to our hometown this year?
We don’t have written proof in the Bible of the time between the testaments, but the last portion of the Old Testament is prophets calling out the people for their disobedience and exile from the promised land. There were years and years and YEARS of wilderness living, both in a physical and spiritual sense.
What if Jesus was born in 2020? Would you still want to throw out this past year and never look back? God’s promises were fulfilled on that night in Bethlehem, but that doesn’t make the promises any less valuable.
As followers of Jesus, we live with the constant tension of grief and joy.
We can grieve the hardships of 2020 and still find the silver lining in how God has blessed us in our home, family or career.
We can lament the injustices that have plagued our society, yet recognize and lift up the progress that has come out of those tragedies.
If you are reading this now, God has given you breath each day of 2020. You have a reason to celebrate.
If you added a member to your family, whether a pet, a child or a spouse, you have reason to celebrate 2020.
If you were able to spend precious days, weeks and months with a loved one before they entered eternal rest, you have a reason to celebrate.
If you were able to stay gainfully employed by working remotely, despite the challenges, you have a reason to celebrate.
These verses from Isaiah resonate with us in 2020.
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—Isaiah 9:1-2 (NIV)
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
The darkest moments you have experienced this year have been overcome by the light of Jesus. There’s peace, love hope and joy because of Jesus, this and every year we are given.