By Mike Day

Happy New Year!

Doesn’t that sound so nice to say and to hear this year?

Happy NEW Year.

Aren’t we all ready to turn the page on 2020?

We are all hoping, praying, and wishing for 2021 to be so much better than what we have experienced this past year. Like a six-year-old racing to the lighted tree on Christmas morning to see her presents, we eagerly toss 2020 aside and sprint into 2021. But before we dash headlong into a new year with the hopes of putting the pain and sorrow of this year behind us, let me challenge you to put on the brakes, to pause for just a minute of reflection.

What lessons have we learned from this unexpected and challenging year that will serve us well in the new year and beyond? Sit down with pen and paper for a moment and write what you’ve learned to value in this difficult year. Here are a few thoughts I’ve jotted down that will guide me in 2021:

People over politics.

Yes, 2020 highlighted the political rifts in our country, families and even our churches. While many of us have some very strong political views, this year has shown me that people are more important than politics. While I will still vote according to my views, I will not let politics destroy relationships. I will not exclude someone from my life just because we do not see eye to eye on issues. In fact, I plan to have a few coffee chats to listen and learn from those who see the world differently than I do.

Simplify life.

Throughout 2020, many people saw their way of life crumble – jobs lost, incomes ceased, and savings depleted. What seemed like a secure and sure way of life vanished in days and weeks. Many of us realized that the material things we thought were necessary really do not matter. Moving forward, I want to consider how to live with more purpose and invest my time and resources in ways that benefit others more than myself.

Live Faith in the moment.

Too often our faith has been limited to worship and ministry in a building with a certain group of people on set days. With gatherings in church buildings canceled and fewer people venturing into packed sanctuaries, our religious practices have been tested. Rather than demonstrating our faith by showing up for a meeting, we are challenged to live our faith by caring for our neighbor and ministering to those who are hurting. As we walk into this new year, may we learn to live our faith in the moment where people will see Jesus in our words and actions.

I realize we still have a long way to go before we are past the Covid threat and life is anywhere near the way we like it. But while I quickly walk away from 2020, I have to admit that it taught me some key life lessons that will guide me for years to come.

Happy New Year!

Mike Day is the pastor of Celebration Church.

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