6 January, Wednesday — Reflecting on 2020

Jan 6 — Wednesday after Epiphany Sunday

1 Jn 4:11-18
Mk 6:45-52

…but as long as we love one another, God will live in us…            

We are a week into the new year, and while I am planning for a fresh start with fresh goals, I am still reeling from the previous year that felt like it never happened. From bushfires to curfews, to protests and the pandemic, 2020 passed us by like a bad dream, as though any moment now we would awaken and find that it really had been a strange dream. Celebrations for the new year were muted, mainly due to social distancing measures but I think more so because we wanted to proceed cautiously into what is still an uncertain time. It may be a new year, but the feelings are from the ‘old year’, with the pandemic situation still far from being over. We are still wearing masks, we still can’t gather like we used to, we are still logging in to health tracing apps. Some restaurants are still closed, airlines have yet to resume full flights like before, and destination holidays are a thing of the past.

This pandemic has crushed many of us physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I feel for those whose livelihoods have been affected, those who have and are still battling on the frontlines, I feel for those who are separated from their loved ones. We have never craved the human touch or interaction more so than we did last year. And yet.

In this bleak time, we have witnessed the indomitability of the human spirit. We have seen kindness, compassion, and love not only from family and friends but strangers too. Small gestures of appreciation that have gone a long way to cheer someone up. A neighborliness in our communities as we look out for each other. Despite being restricted in a bubble, our humanity has not been confined. Yes, the headlines for last year have been awful, but underneath all that noise, the human spirit has quietly but surely soldiered on. There has been a demonstration of love despite all that has happened.

Jesus taught us to love God and love our neighbours as we do ourselves. In a time when we must have surely asked where God is when we needed Him, there He was, working in our midst, quietly present, quietly reaching out. Because as today’s reading points out, if we love one another, God remains in us. God is amongst us, present in the prayers of the kindly friend, present in the smile and encouragement from a total stranger, present in the nurses, teachers, delivery drivers, chefs, present in all those who serve their communities. They’re not just doing it for the money, as some people might assume. They do it because they care, and they care because they love. And where love is, there God is also.

We may be isolated, but we are not alone. We are all in this same situation together, and we will beat this thing. Life may not revert to what it was before; there will be a different sort of normalcy, but it doesn’t mean that all change is bad. As we reflect on 2020, let us look beyond the negativity. Seek out the little pockets of silver linings and give thanks for them. Let go of the baggage of yesteryear and move forward into the new year with faith, hope, and most definitely with love.

(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)

Prayer: Lord, as we begin this new year we pray that it will be a good year, one with healing, love, health and happiness.

Thanksgiving: Lord, thank you for our families, friends, communities, people who have battled on the frontlines and sweated it out backstage. We thank you for the little acts of kindness and silver linings of hope. We pray for God’s blessing to be upon them all.

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