As the first day of a new year, a new decade, and a new season of life begin, I'm wondering does it all feel as surreal to you as it does to me. Last night at the stroke of midnight, many of us welcomed the new year in like we've never done before, and possibly hope to never have to do again. A year ago, we would have never imagined what we experienced in 2020. Our new reality of social distancing, sheltering/quarantine, masks, hand sanitizer, Zoom, and FaceTime as norms. And because pandemics only come once every 100 years (thank God), we can be assured most of us have not had to navigate times like these in our lifetimes.
So where does that leave us as we look forward into this new year? Before we do that, let's take a look at what 2020 offered us.
Like many, I experienced a great deal of loss last year with deaths of loved ones, church family members, and friends. Homelessness and hunger have reached astronomical records as families have lost income and are in need of support. Children and parents struggling to balance work and school from home without physical interaction with co-workers and classmates.
A dark cloud of fear and despair seemed to loom over most of 2020 because of circumstances like these making us pray desperately to make it through the year without more loss.
As the heaviness of that dark cloud of hopelessness started weighing me down with depression and anxiety, I realized one day I needed to change my focus or be consumed by things I couldn't control anyway. Instead of focusing on all that was lost or canceled, it would serve me better to focus on GLIMMERS.
Merriam-Webster defines glimmer as a faint or intermittent light; a subdued unsteady shining or sparkle; a hint or spark.
Just like when you look up at the dark sky on a clear winter's night, at first glance, all you see is a mass of darkness above you. But as you take time to focus, eventually you begin to see faint glimmers of light, one by one, from stars millions of miles away, shining through the thickness of night. Actually the darker the night, the more vibrant and piercing the twinkles of starlight become.
It's a reminder to us, regardless of how dark our situation may appear to be, if we only focus on the depth of the darkness, that's all we'll see. But if we take time to still ourselves and fix our gaze with expectation of seeing more, we'll see the glimmers of light.
Like glimmers of starlight in a dark night sky, we can also look for glimmers of hope in the darkness of loss, fear and despair. Realizing there has to be something greater beyond our present upclose reality that provides us with what is needed to inspire hope in what will come beyond our darkest moments.
After you read this post, go back and look at the picture I posted it with it. At first glance, it probably just looks like a dark square, but if you look closely and fix your gaze, you'll see some of the stars my camera was able to capture when I took a picture of the dark New Year's Eve sky. My eyes saw so much more and I thanked God for the inspiration to write this.
As we're looking forward to 2021 not just being better than 2020 but a different better, also understand it may be necessary to redefine what better look like based upon our gratitude for even the small GLIMMERS of hope that enable us to get through the darkest of times.
So what are you looking forward to in 2021? I hope you'll join me in asking God to help you see the GLIMMERS of hope He can provide in the midst of darkness.
I encourage you to reflect back on 2020 to a time of darkness that you thought was completely without hope. Look for a GLIMMER of hope you can take with you into this new year.
You may have to still yourself and fix your eyes firmly. Ask God to help you see the GLIMMERS to enable your trust in His promise in Romans 8:28, that all things work together for our good.
If you'd like to share what you discover, I'd love to hear from you as I hope these words inspire you to see GLIMMERS in this New year.
Happy Blessed and Safe New Year to you and yours!