I remember when 2019 was coming to an end. It was popular to wish good riddance to the year, putting the bad behind and moving with hope toward a new year. Little did we know all that 2020 would hold. The uncertainty. The political turmoil. The racial unrest. The anxiety. The virus. It has been a year of change in unprecedented proportions, at least in my lifetime, and in some ways we feel like we’re limping to finish line now, itching to close the book on a hard year.
I’ve already seen plenty of posts about how no one will be sad to see 2020 come to an end. But if there’s anything we should have learned during the past year, it’s how ungrateful we really are. How many things did we fail to recognize as God’s blessings in 2019? How many beautiful moments, precious encounters, belly laughs, great thoughts, good food, and important lessons did we disregard when we looked back on our year last December, back when we were all in a rush to toss the whole period of time in the dumpster and never look back? In many ways we let annoyances and frustrations and disappointments overshadow all of the good, the sacred, the essential things that God did for us. It was a classic case of missing the forest for the trees. God had moved, He had worked, He had changed us, He had changed our circumstances, He had surprised us, He had shown Himself to us in all kinds of ways, but all we could say as the year came to a close was good riddance.
And here we are again. The social media posts started months ago, all about what a dumpster fire 2020 has been. No doubt, it’s been a tough year in lots of ways. But how many things have we seen God miraculously accomplish? How often have we been awed by His goodness, His provision, His ways of sustaining us and teaching us? Have we stopped yet to be amazed by all that we have learned about our God in the year 2020?
For some reason we cling to the notion that when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, things will magically be different. But the reality is that the same issues that plagued us in 2020 are following us into a new year. There is no reset button on January first. We will still be facing plenty of challenges, some of which we haven’t even imagined yet. I am all for a sense of hope about a new year. I absolutely believe that His mercies are new every single day, and January first is no exception. God is always doing something good. But let us not make the mistake of dismissing this year as too terrible, too heartbreaking, too disappointing, too difficult, because when we do that we withhold the praise and glory that He deserves. Will the rocks have to cry out in our place here at the end of 2020, when we insist that nothing good came of this year? Or will we spend our last couple of weeks of a historic year reflecting on all of God’s goodness, clearly shown to us even among the hardships of the past twelve months?
Let’s not be in a rush to say goodbye to 2020. Instead, let’s end this year with hearts that are tuned to His grace and mercy. There is so much to be grateful for, even on the hardest days. Will we see it, or will we shove the year out the door and refuse to lift praise to the One who is giving us the very breath in our lungs each moment? This year will be analyzed again and again, by psychology experts, historians, critics of all kinds. Surely God’s own children can take a close look at it, too, realizing anew just how worthy He is of all our worship and praise. 2020 may not be our favorite year to look back on, but never let it be said that it was a year in which we didn’t receive the goodness, mercy, and kindness of the Lord. He has been so good. Can you see it?
Now he came near the path down the Mount of Olives, and the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the King who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest heaven!”
Some of the Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”
He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out.”