2020 was a year for the record books. It was a year of unprecedented times. Things that had never happened before in our lifetimes happened in 2020.
Never before had we watched massive sporting events completely canceled.
Never before had we seen all schools shut down.
Never before had we observed panic and fear on a global scale.
Never before had we moved to completely digital church.
Never before had we thought so much about toilet paper.
When you reflect upon the events of a year ago, most of them are things we hope never happen again. In truth, though there were some bad things, it wasn’t all bad. There are definitely things that I miss about 2020.
When everything in 2020 shut down, families were forced (is that the right word?) to be together again. With every game, activity, and extracurricular function canceled, families were given the gift of time to be together again. Dinner tables were surrounded, laughter filled the home, and the family bonded through the hardship.
The same was true in the spiritual family. When the church couldn’t be in a building, the church had to figure out how to be the church outside of a building. We saw more Christians loving one another in practical ways. We saw widows being tended to. Nursing homes being visited from the outside. We witnessed Christians finding ways to serve one another. We watched people going the extra mile to look after those who might otherwise be overlooked. We experienced drive-by showers, graduations, and weddings. We saw families worshipping together. We saw the church being equipped to do ministry. We watched teachers get creative in their Bible lessons and folks making time to learn together. We watched folks using their gifts, whether it was baking bread, delivering groceries, or singing. We looked out for one another in love and, though it was not easy, we bonded with one another through the hardship. It was so, so good.
2020 was not easy to be sure. But, many good things came from it and many lessons we can learn. I’m not sure if James ever experienced a pandemic, but he did write this about hardship: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
From that perspective, 2020 was a GREAT year. Not an easy year, but a year full of opportunities for growing and maturing in our faith in Christ. It was a year full of opportunities to put our faith into practice – where it really counts. I’ll miss 2020. It wasn’t easy, but we learned a lot about who we can be, and who God calls us to be. We shouldn’t have to wait for a pandemic to be like that. We should strive to be like that all the time.