Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Each day, we have the chance to start anew, but there is something special to me about the New Year. It’s my favorite holiday because it marks the start of new beginnings and a time for deep reflection. Through my wins and losses, I try to have honest dialogue with myself about my shortcomings and what brings me joy. I love the rush of excitement with each new year, and the wonder that surrounds it, but let’s be clear – this New Year has felt a bit different.
2020 was the year that globally challenged us in ways we never predicted. We lost our jobs, dreams, savings, homes, friendships, loved ones, and at times – our dignity. Political views divided us. COVID-19 separated us. Nevertheless, the online world did its best to try to connect us. We knew, however, that there was no real replacement for in-person communication. As we maintained our safe distances and embraced video chat, it almost felt like we lost a touch of our humanity – because we did.
We embraced our need to be right, our selfish and at times careless desires, and general lack of personal accountability. Our behavior contributed to ongoing political chaos, protests, senseless deaths, racial divides, and so many other problems that are plaguing our society. Despite what social media may tell us, a new year, change in president, and/or changes in policy cannot completely erase the damage that has been done.
The need for self-reflection
We may blame others for the poor judgment, but many of us have been swimming in the same dark seas that we accuse others of entering. We were part of the decision-making the caused so many to lose their jobs. We were a part of the hatred that turned into maddening fury. We exercised a lack of sympathy to those that needed it the most. We fell short. I know for all that I did, I still fell short. I sit with that thought. I examine it. And with the help of God, I’m addressing it.
I have to make a daily decision to not let this world destroy the good inside of me; I must protect the avenues of my soul at all costs. In the midst of darkness, I will shine. I know that if I want a better world, I have to contribute to making that world better. I also know, however, that for some, that idea can feel difficult. Many of us are suffering – financially, spiritually, emotionally, and in ways I can’t even imagine. Allow yourself to feel pain, sorrow, and disappointment. Those emotions don’t make us weak. Let them run through you, just don’t let them take over you.
Is there still good to be found?
We may have lost greatly but we have also gained. We have given and experienced kindness. We have learned more about community. Our characters know a greater depth of perseverance, strength, patience, and stillness. Even when joy seems far from our own personal journeys, it is still lurking in quiet corners. It’s important that we acknowledge the day-to-day blessings that we too often overlook. Gratitude allows us to see the God’s power working throughout our lives. It deepens our faith and opens us up to new experiences.
Nevertheless, some days have been dark, and may be for yet a while longer. Keep the faith and stay near to God. He sees you and is working on your behalf. And for those of us coming out of our dark times, remember 2 Corinthians 1:3-4:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
We must comfort those who need to be comforted. Life is precious. I don’t always appreciate it as much as I should, but I pray that in this new year, God is able to use us in miraculous ways. During our journeys when we grow weary, I pray for our strength. When we grow tired, I pray we find rest. But above all else, in this new year, I pray that we experience God’s love, and that we share that love with every soul we meet.
May God bless you and keep you in 2021.Print This Devotional