A year-end greeting to my readers

Queen Elizabeth II once referred to 1992 as an ‘annus horribilis’; Latin for “horrible year.” During a speech marking her 40th anniversary as Queen, she said it was “…not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.”

Most of my readers likely feel the same about 2020. If the past year gave 20/20 vision on anything, it provided with absolute clarity a shocking glimpse of the fragility of our world. COVID-19 has brought far too many people innumerable losses; everything from beloved family and friends to economic blows from which it seems impossible to recover.

Perhaps the greatest, most widely felt, loss has been our (in retrospect, naive) sense of security, now in tatters as we view the battlefields of the past year. Our 2020 calendars are scarred with disappointment, unmet expectations, fallen heroes and farewells to precious loved ones.

Peering through the thick fog of global confusion, we pray for a clear (and hopeful) view into 2021. Some assurance of relief. Undefeatable allies on the way. A decisive victory over the disease, its variants and its consequences.

But we have only one guarantee, and it reassures me. Whatever comes next in our ailing, feeble world, the Bible, God’s book, is pretty clear that he always has a plan. Always. Though we don’t understand the ‘whys and what nexts’, we can trust him. We can also know he is with us in the middle of the muddle. That he alone is our security, and that someday, somehow, all will be well, in his time.

Friends and readers, I hope you know you are loved by God and thought of fondly by us. The Preacher and I pray health and safety for you and your beloveds and every good blessing from our Father’s hand in the days and year ahead. In spite of 2020’s innumerable losses and sorrows, so many of those blessings STILL surround us. As believers in Jesus, Christ-followers are rich in the Divine gifts from our Father in Heaven. Nothing can take away the presence and PRESENTS our Saviour so freely shares. We pray you know and are comforted by them… hope, joy, peace and the abundant love that sacrificed so much for us, starting with the gift of his Son, Jesus, that child born in the manger over 2000 years ago. We can celebrate him every day, not just on December 25th, with joy. We may have our own “annus horribilus” behind us, but in Christ, hope always lies ahead.

So, if you haven’t already done so, break out the chocolates and cheese, bake up the beast, smash up the spuds, sing as loudly as you can (wherever you can), hug your beloveds and meet 2021 with faith, assurance and trust.

No matter how bleak the future looks, with Jesus holding our hand, victory waits.
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