Last year our family celebrated Christmas in Germany. We spent time with our son-in-law’s family who lives there, holding hands around the dinner table as we prayed. We toured Hanover and the Christmas market, rubbing elbows with happy strangers. We gathered in packed cathedrals and sang worship hymns.
“The World is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”― J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring)
No masks. No social distancing. No fear or thoughts of catching a deadly disease.
I’m glad I didn’t know a world-wide pandemic would hit us like a tsunami in 2020. I’m glad I could live in the moment. Clueless to the new normal that would change life as we knew it.
I’m glad I rang in the New Year and hugged my folks in Texas without worrying that I’d unknowingly expose them to a disease I may or may not have. I’m thankful I didn’t know I wouldn’t see them again until November.
In early February, my husband and I flew to Georgia to celebrate our grandson’s first birthday. If you’d told me that our traveling days were over, our church services would Have to stop meeting in person, we’d rarely (if ever) see our friends, and I’d have to stop cooking/serving the homeless–I wouldn’t have believed you.
When I attended our local theater to watch a play in early March, I didn’t know that live theater would disappear indefinitely. School, sports, and ALL outdoor events like our county fair would be canceled.
Thank goodness I didn’t know in January 2020 that …
My prayer list for sick, dying, depressed, and unemployed people would grow longer.
My 15-year-old kitty would have to be euthanized.
My son-in-law’s parents wouldn’t be able to travel to the U.S. to visit.
One of my family members would need to move in with us.
My mask would become a new accessory, hand sanitizer my new lotion, and toilet paper a thing to be hoarded. The list goes on and on. Right?
But today is December 1, and I’m decorating my house for Christmas with more fanfare than normal. For everything bad that happened, I have a gratitude journal and a blessings jar to remind me of everything good that happened this past year. For one thing, my 89-year-old dad survived a major heart attack. My mom couldn’t even go into the hospital to be with him.
I get to choose each day how I see my cup. Half-full or half-empty? But I prefer to see my cup as full and overflowing because my attitude is the ONLY thing I can control. And our attitude affects our emotions and how we respond to this pandemic.
I’m especially thankful that when I don’t know what’s around the corner….God knows. He’s not only waiting on the other side, He’s with me in this moment. He’s shown me the things that I thought were important ain’t so important after all. God’s also stretching my stiff-neck ways to make me more pliable, and toning my flabby faith muscles so I’ll trust Him more.
God has a bigger plan for my life and yours. He’s not concerned about our happiness and entertainment as much as our character and the salvation of our souls. God wants us to love others and show mercy. He wants us to seek Him rather than His gifts.Tweet
Who knows. Events in 2021 might make 2020 look good. But for everything I don’t know about tomorrow, I Do Know that God Doesn’t Change.
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins (1 John 4:9-10)
One day we will see our Savior face to face. “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace!” (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus).
Until then, the Lord is our anchor. Our hope. And all the more reason to celebrate this Christmas with renewed focus on what matters most! Faith in the risen Savior, Family. Friends.
How are you coping with this pandemic especially during the holiday season?
Photos: K. Foster