According to a large section of the world’s population it’s been the worst year in our lifetime. 2020 started with such promise but with 20/20 hindsight, we realise it was not the year we’d hoped to experience.
While shopping a couple of days ago I noticed a distinct difference in the ‘new year’ merchandise on offer. In previous years there’s been a range of decorations and party goods emblazoned with the year that was about to begin. There was no end of items with 2020 printed across them in December 2019.
This year, I’m seeing items with bold print saying, ‘GOOD RIDDANCE 2020’.
While the end of every year sees social media cluttered with posts about how bad the previous year has been and a keenness to move into the next, the hatred for 2020 is palpable. The mood has changed from one of looking forward to something new to one of ‘give us anything but 2020’.
Sadly, 2021 isn’t a reset button.
Replacing the zero at the end of the date with a one won’t magically make everything better. Of course, we know that, but sometimes we’re so keen to throw off what has been that we act as if the chime of midnight on the 31st of December will jolt us back into normal life, whatever that is.
The first of January won’t bring an end to the pandemic or natural disasters like the floods, fires or earthquakes that have recently filled our news feeds. It won’t repair relationships that have fractured or bring back the loved ones we have lost during the year.
There won’t be a universal reset as we drag ourselves out of 2020 and into 2021, but there’s still hope for better days. We can each make changes that will transform our year, no matter what that year may throw at us.
While many people don’t believe in such things, I reckon that any time we can sit down and take stock of our own lives and make plans for the time ahead is time well spent.
As with every year I’m sure that many will set all the usual resolutions about losing weight, getting fitter, quitting smoking, reducing debt and all the rest but I wonder what 2021 would look like if we made resolutions and goals about improving relationships with those close to us and then asked those people, or others, for help in staying accountable to those goals.
I wonder how things would be if we made resolutions about helping those we may not even know but who need a hand up.
We know that there are still very tough times ahead for us and for others. It’s been estimated that around 150 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty around our world due to the pandemic. I wonder what difference we can make for some of the most vulnerable in our world.
How would 2021 shape up if we determined that family was more important than the demands of work and then structured our schedules accordingly?
What would it be like if we decided that 2021 was the year that we would look beyond the physical and material things of this world to discover deeper spiritual meaning?
Surveys suggest that there has been an increased interest in spiritual matters and the bigger questions of life in 2020. Maybe 2021 is the year to seek answers to some of those questions.
2021 won’t bring the reset the world is yearning to see but it may bring a personal reset if we’re prepared to be open and honest about our search.
My hope for the year ahead is that you might be able to agree with what King David wrote thousands of years ago.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. – Psalm 34:4
The good news is that while trouble still swirls around us, the past can be over. Your past and its heartaches don’t have to determine your future. There is a way forward that will bring you a hope that stretches beyond this life and into eternity.
If you’d like to explore that hope, please feel free to contact me. It would be my honour to walk beside you on the journey.
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