So many of the things we thought would happen in 2020 did not happen, and some even went horribly wrong.  Many of our New Year resolutions were stillborn, having died in the wombs of our minds, long before they could be implemented. Many of us found ourselves with smiles from the New year celebrations still frozen on our faces when the news of the pandemic struck home. With time, and as the uncertainty grew, the disappointment became more real, and it was palpable and painful. Our resolutions changed in response to our new reality and quietly we prayed for the strength and the resolve to continue to make things happen, despite all the odds.

But, on reflection, the sobering reality is that so many other things did happen. Yes, there were positives, many of which we, in our confusion, may have overlooked. So, we celebrate what did happen, the new insights and awareness, and even the enforced stillness that caused us to focus on who and what matters most, our Heavenly Father and our relationship with Him. Yes, it did happen that, for some, the stillness caused a greater recognition of God and of what really matters. We prayed more, and in some cases more intentionally, and found time to pause, and wait to listen for His response.  

The year 2020 did teach us so very many things, not the least of which is how much we need each other. Nine months later, we sit looking at the clothes, the shoes, and all the stuff in our closets, now of little utility and value, and wonder when we will ever get to wear them again. We look at our homes and note that after a while, after a very long while, even the coziest spots become boring. In fact, the things that we miss most are those things that bring us in touch with each other, a hug, a kiss, a smile, a joke, the simple touch, the sound of children at play, our neighbour singing out of tune, and all other such forms that make our human existence real. In reality, the silence of our COVID lockdown has made us realize that the man-made and material things provide us with very little of what is truly needed for our enjoyment of human survival.

It is that time of year when the temptation presents itself, yet again, to make New Year resolutions. How will that exercise be different this time? The opportunities beckon us to find ways to serve Him by serving others. This year, our resolutions should focus on building godly and more neighbourly relationships, on strengthening our faith so that we can serve our neighbours better and looking for ways to grow spiritually. We have been strengthened to survive the tough times. Let us use this new year to demonstrate that, as survivors of the year 2020, we, by His grace, grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favour of God was upon us. 

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