Dec6SunDecember 6, 2020
“And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
How many times have you heard someone say, “2020...wow, what a year.” All of us have had to adjust to a world and a situation which are unprecedented in our lifetimes. Most of us have had to sacrifice much of what is familiar and comforting. It has been a year of isolation, dislocation, loneliness, and fear for so many. Add uncertainty and conflict into the mix and...well, you know. You’ve been listening to this kind of thing all year.
As a faith community, we are anchored to good news. The gospel of Jesus, that God in his incredible love sent Jesus into our world to save us, is the foundation of our faith. The love of God, which comes to us through his living Word, and through the gifts of the church, is made tangible in the kindness and generosity of our neighbours. It is like the electricity that powers the whole household. And without the ability to gather together regularly, we’ve been forced to find alternative ways to express this love of God to each other.
Over the past nine months, I’ve experienced many mood swings, from lethargic depression, to frustrated anger, to hopeful optimism and sometimes even extreme joy mixed right into the struggle. On Monday, this past November 30th, I completed a personal goal of running every day in November, eating no sugar, and drinking no alcohol, and finished the month with my first 50 kilometer night-time ultramarathon!
If that sounds like borderline insanity to you, then you are right. It is. Yet it is right next to a vibrancy in my own faith and devotional life that has me praying like never before, and exercising the gifts I know Jesus has given me in new ways I never thought possible. I, like everyone, am looking for ways to adapt, grow, change, and thrive in the midst of different times. Things are not as they once were, and to wait for them to get “back to normal” has long ago ceased to be the best strategy. We must adapt and grow with these new normals that we are living in.
You are God’s people! And you are given the most powerful of gifts to equip you for this task. It is your faith in a living God who is with you even when the whole world seems to be coming apart.
It is difficult to find our way through uncertain times when all we really want to do is get back to what is comfortable and familiar. Yet perhaps there is a way that the Christmas story itself can teach us during this time. For centuries God promised his people that he would send a saviour, or “anointed one.” Messiah would establish a new kingdom and bring God’s people into the promises God had been making to them since the very first humans sinned. But when Jesus finally did arrive, most people did not recognize him. They were waiting for a more “normal” messiah, one who would take the familiar tools of the throne and the sword and the horse and be glorious and powerful like they expected a king to be.
Yet the birth of Jesus happened just as it happened, and the world began to turn, slowly and surely, into the kingdom of grace and peace which God is still building through his people. It’s a process that continues to this day, including the changes that we have experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic. Someday, we will look back on 2020 and see, among the hardships, the ways God was working to move us forward as His people of faith. We must trust His plan, not our plans.
The scriptures teach us that God works everything together for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28) This is a statement that takes great faith to accept in times of hardship, grief, loss, or pain.