The New Year is upon us … FINALLY! I can honestly say that I am looking forward to 2020 coming to an end. It has been quite a year, to say the least! Many of us had looked to 2020 as a fresh start; it was a new year and a new decade. No one expected that a pandemic would sweep the world. Words and phrases like “quarantine” and “social distancing” became part of our vocabulary and masks became the new fashion trend. We were forced to cancel plans and separate ourselves from loved ones, in hopes that we all would remain healthy.

Unfortunately, for some, this was not the case. All of us know someone who has contracted the virus and we have waited anxiously to hear the good news that they had recovered. Many did recover, but some did not. So, 2020 has been a year of mourning for many of us.

Despite the heartache, anxiety, and frustrations, 2020 has also been a year of rediscovery, you could say. Many of us rediscovered the joy of spending time outside, walking around the harbor’s edge and through the many parks in our area. Many learned to cook and bake bread. Some took advantage of the opportunity to finally watch that show on Netflix they’ve been meaning to watch, while others chipped away at the stack of books they’ve had sitting on their coffee table. We have rediscovered the little things in life, which we may have overlooked in the past while partaking in the hype of mass entertainment and consumerism.

This pandemic has also given us the opportunity to slow down and reflect on what is profoundly important. As we have been separated from  family and friends, we have come to realize that the greatest aspect of our lives is our relationships. We’ve come to realize the importance of sitting down to share a cup of coffee or meal with a beloved and how much we miss handshakes and hugs. We now realize how much we need each other, as we have had to face some difficult things without the presence of a supportive friend.

2021 is going to be different, I just know it! Yes, we are beginning the year with the pandemic still disrupting our lives, but God is at work in our scientists and medical professionals. They have made great strides in regards to vaccines and treatments and I am confident we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Therefore, the new year brings hope for better days, filled with joy and happiness. The new year also brings us the opportunity to change old habits and reevaluate our priorities, so that we may live abundant lives filled with love and connection. In other words, we have been given the opportunity to experience a resurrection into new lives!

As you start to consider New Year’s resolutions, I encourage you to first reflect on the lessons learned during 2020. Take time to remember those vital friendships and relationships you missed the most and make connection a priority. Take time to remember how much you missed being a part of your church family and consider new ways to get involved in church life, in order to nurture your relationship with this community.

2020 will only be a wasted year if we don’t learn from it. I hope that you carry with you these lessons learned into the new year and that they help you make 2021 the best year possible.

Blessings, Pastor John

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” – Lamentations 3:22-24