As we welcome 2021, I do not think many will be sorry to see 2020 go. I saw on Facebook where some say, “I’m staying up until midnight on December 31st, not to welcome in the new year, but to make sure 2020 leaves!”
It has been a difficult and challenging year, to say the least. The turmoil of 2020 has disrupted all our lives. Of course, the biggest disruptor has been the pandemic, but we have also endured an impeachment trial, a summer of civil unrest, denominational chaos, and the most contentious election season in memory. All these things have served as catalysts for polarization, and we have become a “house divided” (Luke 11:17) more than at any time since the Civil War. During all the trouble that has marked this as a year we would like to forget, what we really need is … a Savior. We need Jesus! The world needs the church!
The major political parties essentially told us the same thing during the presidential campaign, didn’t they? One side maintained that their candidate would save us from socialism. The other side claimed that their candidate would save us from losing our democracy. Though poles apart in countless ways, at least they agreed on one thing: we need a savior to rescue us from our distress.
I agree and guess what! A Savior has come to us! His name is not Donald or Joe, but Jesus. He entered our shared human experience not with press conferences and victory parades, but with the gentleness of a baby’s breath in a humble manger. He offers us salvation from temporary problems with eternal consequences. He was not on the ballot on election day, but He invites us to choose Him every day so He can guide us into the kind of life that is abundant, joyful, full of hope, full of grace and eternal.
While we eagerly welcome a new year and the promise it holds for overcoming the pandemic, let us remember and embrace the hope that Christmas provides. Perhaps now more than ever, we need this annual reminder that God comes to us in our distress. Jesus is our Immanuel, God with us (Matt. 1:23; Isa. 7:14). God is at work in this very moment to uphold and sustain His people. We need to hear the voice of Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord our God is with us, He is mighty to save.”
As we move into 2021, remember that God has already acted through Christ to save us from our greatest threat, our own sin and rejection of God. His care for us remains undiminished as He remains in charge and willing to bless us. God expects us to do our part in this, to be prudent and wise as we trust Him through it all, and He will give us peace for 2021. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7; NIV).
Let us trust in Him and listen for His voice in the silence as we begin the year. As Mary taught us in Luke 2:19, Let us treasure up all these things and ponder over them in our hearts, as we anticipate the new year with excitement and courage. Allow God to reveal His will to us as our Epiphany.
Happy Epiphany and New Year.
Yours in Christ,