So 2020 wasn’t exactly the year we expected or hoped for. I know in our family, we expected this to be the best year yet! Truly. Our big 2019 Christmas gift to our kids was a plan that involved 20 creative things we would do in 2020. We figured it was the perfect year to push ourselves to do things we normally wouldn’t do (think train rides and road trips and random family adventures). We started strong, conquering 1 or 2 activities a month. Our sights were set on a year to remember.
Then March hit… and life as we knew it got cancelled.
Obviously it was no longer practical to get creative with the plans. We quickly postponed our adventures, saying we’ll shoot for 21 fun things in 2021 (But let’s be honest, we may have to go for 22 in 2022 with the current rate of progress).
All that to say, this year was not what we Pace’s expected.
And I bet it’s not what you expected either. You may not have had 20 fun ideas for 2020, but I bet you thought it would at least be a normal-ish year. But it wasn’t. On a variety of levels, I know this was actually a super hard year for many people.
So what do we make of such a year? In one sense, I don’t know. Clearly, God is still in control. We know he wasn’t phased by any of it. It’s possible he may have been using a lot of the not-so-good stuff for lots of good behind the scenes. But also, we know we live in a fallen world, so some of the yuckiness may simply be the effects of a broken world.
Regardless of why it all happened, or whether there’s any deep meaning behind the various difficulties we all faced, there are certainly reasons to be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18)! In fact, it’s possible we can think of more (or at least more unique) reasons to be thankful because of this odd year we’ve come through.
So what should you be thankful for? Did you learn anything? Did God use this time in your life in any way? Did he draw anyone you know closer to himself? Did any relationships deepen? Did you enjoy any new blessings? Were you spared any particular difficulties that you could have faced?
I suspect we all have plenty of reasons to be thankful! In fact, here’s 20 (keeping with the 20 in 2020 theme) that may spark some ideas for your own gratitude list:
- Many people were faced with thoughts of their mortality — something we hope turned many to Christ.
- When life got cancelled, we realized every activity that normally keeps us busy isn’t 100% necessary, giving us an opportunity to realign our priorities.
- We had a chance to grow our character through the various trials and challenges we faced.
- Most of us were spared the dramatic health crisis we were certain would come our way.
- We have a ton of qualified and sacrificial medical professionals in our midst.
- Non church-goers had access to truth through church services becoming widely accessible online.
- Most of us learned to appreciate going to church more since we had to refrain for a time.
- Friendships deepened when people were there for each other in new ways.
- Many people reported becoming closer to neighbors because they were stuck at home for a season.
- We never realized how wonderful it is to breathe without a mask, and that it is!
- We learned how to be a bit more creative when normal life was taken away.
- Many families spent more quality time together.
- I think we’ve learned to better appreciate our freedoms after having a small taste of them being taken away.
- We’ve become accustomed to new forms of technology…and though we might not love them all, we can at least use them to keep in touch with people we can’t otherwise spend time with.
- Coronababies became a thing (highlight of my year)!
- We appreciate friendships and socialization more than ever.
- We’ve spent more time outside, enjoying God’s beautiful creation.
- We’ve been reminded we have little control over life and plans; perhaps some of us are leaving this year more humble.
- We long for Jesus’ return more than ever — when we’ll have a perfect earth, with perfect bodies, and a perfect leader, forever.
- We are alive to live for the Lord another day.
And that just scratches the surface. God has been good to us, even amidst a difficult year. Let’s be thankful people.