“…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” Ecclesiastes 3:4
Friends, we made it! The year 2020 is behind us and our hopes are that 2021 will be much kinder to all of mankind.
It isn’t very often when an event takes place that actually affects the entire globe. Even so, 2020 was a year that one did. The impact of a virus that handicapped the world became much more than just a sickness. It was a topic that no one could escape and included a snowball effect of hardships.
Even during a time of fear and uncertainty, some are looking back at 2020 and clinging to what was good. Exciting life events and celebrations took place for some families. Young couples were exchanging wedding vows at beautiful, outdoor venues. Mothers and fathers were initiated into the First-time Grandparents club. Families separated by military duties were surprised with their loved ones coming home unannounced.
Many good things still happened in 2020.
Our hearts ache for those whose year was quite the opposite. In addition to the pandemic and the accompanying hardships, some were dealing with internal struggles as well. Worrisome test results were delivered to aging patients by their doctors. Feelings of inadequacy and no longer being useful taunted the minds of empty nesters. Regrets from past failures gifted many parents with countless, sleepless nights.
All of humanity walked through 2020 together, yet some were in a season of blessing, while others were in a season of hurting. Maybe not of this magnitude, but people being in different seasons at the same time is nothing new. Maybe that’s why Romans 12:15 tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
The saying that “misery loves company” is not true for every person who is going through a difficult time. Even so, if we’re honest, there are times it’s hard to rejoice with others when our own hearts are hurting. Furthermore, it’s not always easy to mourn for the hurting when we’re having a mountain-top experience. We’re rather caught up in how good things are for us at the moment. To think of those contrasts, the God of all wisdom knew what He was doing.
If everyone was celebrating blessings at the same time, there would be no need to encourage others to rejoice with them. Even in hardship, we cannot forget that there is good in this life. If everyone was hurting at the same time, there would be no need to mention mourning with those who mourn. During times of celebration and happiness, we cannot forget to have compassion for those walking in darker seasons.
There is no shortage of fear, mourning and uncertainty right now. With that being the case, let us all be encouraged to change direction; at least in our little corner of the world and with our family and friends.
Let’s begin by rethinking 2020 and what good we can remember from it. The majority of us were anxious to say goodbye to the year that felt cursed. However, let us not allow every memory and positive outcome to slip our minds.
Many people who were sufficiently taken care of financially reached out to help others who lost their jobs from lockdowns.
People took time out of their schedules to drive by and honk for birthday children who were unable to have parties because of Covid.
Jobs being on lockdown because of Covid have caused great loss of income for families. To make matters more difficult, many children who have had to switch to remote learning at home no longer receive a lunch meal at school. Many people have stepped up to offer help to these families.
The elderly have not been forgotten either. Some take groceries to their homes, lessening their exposure to getting sick.
Churches have given bags of groceries to those who stop at their drive-thru food distribution.
The list could go on and on.
We know that the new year marker doesn’t actually turn a page in the events around us. Even so, many of us still look at each new year as a new beginning of sorts. For 2021, the majority of us are hoping this imaginary deadline of dates will bring a much better year.
Are we entering 2021 with hope? Have we stopped to think of how we can encourage others and help them to feel hope too?
Let us all try hard to direct our focus on positive things to come. Let us offer others a smile, a kind word, a helping hand.
We are all survivors, and good days will come again for those who are struggling. And the beautiful part of that? There are a whole lot of us who look forward to rejoicing with them when they rejoice!