“I can’t wait for 2020 to be over.” It’s a sentiment we’ve heard many times over the last few months. I bet many have thought it themselves at one point or another.
My first draft of this post began with the mess of 2020. I tried to quickly list all the conflicting information and doubts we’ve been force fed as well as all the divisions and fear that have been injected into our existence. My plan was to counter each aspect of the mess with a blessing of 2020 and try to convince readers that our blessings still outweigh our messes.
I couldn’t quite get the words right though, and I realized that such a tit-for-tat tallying up of good vs bad does an injustice to our situations – both good and bad. More importantly, it does an injustice to ourselves and to our God.
God doesn’t tell us our good will outweigh our bad in a certain time period. His plans are bigger than that.
He tells us to consider it all joy in any circumstances (James 1). He tells us to humble ourselves in gratitude as Job learns to do despite his entire world crashing down around him. He tells us through the holy Sacrifice of the Mass that, “It is truly right and just, our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Father most holy, through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ.”
There are no caveats on those calls to joy, humble gratitude, or the duty of thanksgiving.
It’s, “always and everywhere.”
I had a hard time comparing the curses and blessings of 2020 because I’m human and still tend to think in finite terms. I want God’s blessings to outweigh Satan’s curses in time periods set by man. If I’m honest and take time to catch a sunrise, play ball with a child, or chat with an elderly veteran, I’ll admit blessings do outweigh curses even moment by moment, but that’s not always good enough for me. I want blessings to appear the way I want them to! I want God to act the way I think is best.
We think that our now is most important. What we experience, the people close to us, the life we live today, clouds memories of the past and obscures plans for the future. We get stuck and limit ourselves to our own experiences even when we try to break free of them.
We do this because we can get stuck in a finite vision of the now with ourselves at the center.
God however, sees infinitely and eternally with Love at the center.
He is not waiting for a given date to magically cure the world of its self-destructive tendencies. He is not bound by time or space. He cradles the sacrifices of past generations who stood for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness found only through God. He reaches into the future looking to the second coming of Christ when the Son of Man will return, not pursuing happiness on streets paved with gold or the promise of the modern “American Dream,” but searching for faith on Earth.
God’s vision is not clouded by 2020. He sees clearly the past and future, and He works in the here and now.
Perhaps that is what 2020 is about for us too.
Seeing 2020 for What it is & Being Thankful for That
For so long, Christian Conservatives have hidden. We did not defend, even to ourselves, beliefs on the Sanctity of Marriage, the dignity of the human person as formed by God, or the value of life from conception through natural death. We consumed more than we needed and lusted after what others had whether it was material goods or relationships we really knew nothing about. We spoke much of nothing, harshly criticized those we loved, and gossiped about those we know little about. We kept quiet when confronted with sin so we didn’t offend those we wanted to impress for social status.
For decades, God’s children let slivers of freedom and faith be pulled out from under us until our children would no longer recognize the faith of our grandparents or the freedoms we have already given away.
We can be thankful 2020 is changing that.
We are learning to see beyond the here and now and stand with Love at our center.
2020’s Call to Change
Change is often painful and difficult. This is especially true when it requires looking in the mirror and see into and beyond ourselves, yet that is where the most growth happens! That is where exciting changes take place! That is where true blessings begin!
What we most have to give thanks for in 202o is that we are no longer sleeping. We no longer remain hidden. We are called to take a stand, even in uncertainty, even in fear, even when mocked. We are called to humbly love our families even when that is difficult to do. We are called to reach out to friends we put on back burners. We hare called to take control of our finances by saving and giving more. We are called to better ourselves through personal fitness and fasting.
Most of all, we are called to see 2020 as a call to faith. It is a year to separate sheep from wolves. It is a year to make us more God-like. It is a year to focus on the eternal. It is a year to put the past in perspective and prepare for the future. It is a year when so much we took for granted has been shaken to its core ridding us of dead weight. It is a year to prune and grow. It is not a year to sit still and fester or wait for a flip of the calendar page.
2020 is a year to step out in faith. It is the year to trim the fat and rise to who God created you to be!
Whether obvious blessings outnumber curses in the short term will be different for each of us. We will not be able to objectively view this for years to come. What we can know for sure is that the good life will not come magically when we finally put an “X” on a calendar square. It will come because we decide to make it come. It will come because we choose to see beyond the here and now while also choosing to act in the here and now.
But, if you are still waiting to get started, why wait for a date the world sets? Today is the first day of Advent. The Church calendar gives us many more days to start anew than the secular calendar does. Think that’s coincidence? Advent is a season of joyful sacrifice, inner preparation, and happy anticipation of things to come.
This is still 2020, and this is your time to act in the here and now, to change your future by acting in your present.
Make this day in 2020, the one you step forward in faith and become the woman you are created to be.