I’ve been wrestling with the idea of forgetting 2020.
We’ve all seen the social media memes about 2020 that make us laugh so we don’t cry. Maybe using our extra toilet paper stash to wipe away this last year and start over is a good idea?!
I laugh and nod in agreement with most of the jokes about this year. But as I do, the Holy Spirit whispers to my heart a tender message that I hope you and I will listen to: This year has not been a waste. Look for Me and My marvelous works.
Will we dismiss this year with all its gut-wrenching nuances, grief, and turmoil, or will we look for the miracles God has done? Will we be filled with joy because of who God is, or will we focus only on our tough circumstances?
Blaming 2020 and being ready to be done with this year is probably the most natural response we could have after all we have endured. Our experiences have each been so unique based on our health, family, the color of our skin, location, age, political stance, career, and even our expectations. We have all grieved, struggled with loneliness, felt angry and overwhelmed, been hopeless and just plain tired.
Unfortunately, our feelings and personal struggles, the global pandemic, racial injustices, and our nation’s political divide will not magically disappear when we turn the calendar to 2021.
But thanks be to God, there is hope! Not the sappy Hallmark Christmas movie kind or the “stick your head in the sand” kind but the kind of hope that King David knew:
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of YOU.
I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
Psalm 9:1-2 (NLT)
David did not write this psalm after a miracle or a victory. David chose these words in the middle of being attacked, exhausted from the enemy, and wondering if God has abandoned Him. Sounds familiar, right?
As we approach Christmas, I wonder if the year Jesus was born felt similar to 2020 for those living during that time. The Roman Empire was a worldwide tyrant, persecution was the norm based on beliefs, race, and culture, and a census had created upheaval with heavy taxes looming in the future. Not to mention the grief, frustration, and hopelessness each individual experienced.
But God sent angels to proclaim good news, long awaited prayers were answered, and Jesus came to save the world — all in the middle of a year that most probably wanted to move on from and try to forget.
The focus of that year could have been the hardships that preceded Jesus’ birth or the months that immediately followed with Herod’s deadly decree. But the focus was on Jesus and the beginning of His rescue plan.
The outcome of that difficult year a little over 2000 years ago should remind us that God never ignores our cries for help. We can trust Him with our afflictions and praise Him in the difficult middle and not just in our victory. God is always doing miracles, even in a year we would like to forget.
As we approach the celebration of Jesus’ arrival, let’s choose not to dismiss this difficult year but to look for God’s marvelous works in it. May we be honest with Him about the difficulty of this year and praise Him for all He has done.
Lord, thank you for the real hope of Christmas in the middle of this trying year. When times are especially hard, help us to remember what You’ve done and be filled with joy because of You.
In the comments, bring a gift of praise to Jesus. Share with us how you have seen God’s marvelous work in your life in 2020.
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