As I have scrolled through social media this holiday season, I have noticed a common theme emerge from the posts and stories shared by friends and strangers alike. That theme in a nutshell...2020 has been a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” year.
And yet somewhere amidst the terribles and horribles, I have seen the second part of the theme glimmer ever so slightly. A friend posts how nice it was to keep Christmas simple this year, and the light twinkles a little brighter. A family member mentions how thankful they are for the little things in life, and the glow begins to spread. Someone shares how COVID has impacted his/her life this year, and complete strangers come together to meet needs. I am reminded of a song I sang at church camp as a child. “It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up to its glowing.”
At this point I must stop and say I am in no way minimizing the difficulties this year has presented. The mother of a dear childhood friend died from complications with COVID, and my heart still breaks for her and her family. People I know and love have been fired, have been hospitalized, have been quarantined, have been belittled, have been scared and lonely. I personally received news about my health this year that fit right in with all the other dreadful aspects of 2020. There is no treatment for my decreasing balance function.
BUT...I refuse to let the story stop there, and I know you do too. It’s the little glimmers and twinkles and sparks that keep us pushing forward. I choose to refer to those glimmers, twinkles, and sparks as hope...hope in a better year, hope for mankind, and ultimately hope in Christ. Without that hope, I couldn’t face another day of stumbling over my own feet, wishing I could still teach, staring at my KIA sitting empty in my driveway, longing to get in it and drive...just drive a few miles without dizziness getting the best of me.
If you will allow to me ramble another moment, I will end with this final story. As a little girl, I loved all things Christmas (I still do!) One of my absolute favorite memories is dancing around the living room with a microphone made out of paper towels wrapped in aluminum foil in my hand and belting out the chorus to “Kentucky Homemade Christmas” as Kenny Rogers’ voice came from my parents’ record player. I would dance and sing and laugh with no worries in the world. Near the record player sat our Christmas tree topped with yet another homemade aluminum foil creation...a star my mom made out of foil-covered poster board the first year she and my dad were married. They didn’t have a lot of money, but she had always wanted a shiny star on top of her Christmas tree.
As a child, I did not like that star. I wanted a store bought star. I didn’t want my friends to see that star when they came to visit because they might think we were poor. Year after year, I dreaded having to top our tree with that silly tin foil star until one year my perspective changed. Something in my heart softened, and that star no longer looked like trash. Instead, it became a beautiful treasure. It represented simplicity, childhood, love, and family. It still sits on top of my parents’ tree, and I LOVE IT!
As 2020 ends and 2021 begins in just a few hours, may we all have a shift in our perspectives. May we see less trash and more treasures. May we join together to face the difficulties while always looking for the glimmers, twinkles, and sparks. May we face the new year with hope!