Pastor’s Friday Comments (11.20.20)

How often, I wonder, do we pin our hopes for future happiness on our memories of things past. We judge a season or tradition not on its own, but on how it matches up with other experiences. This year, of all years, we better not fall into that trap.

I’m not a big fan of Halloween, but November 1 through the New Year is my favorite season. It’s one big event after another. The kids and grandchildren are at our house more often. There are plenty of big meals. We get together with my brothers and their families a couple of times. Parties with friends are always in a more festive atmosphere. The Hanging of the Green and the singing of carols add a sentimental mood to the worship services. 

To state the obvious, none of those things are going to be the same this year. You can’t help it. It’s nobody’s fault. But there it is. In fact, to attempt to duplicate the events we have held in the past, given the precautions that currently are prudent, would be dangerous.

And also idolatrous. To seek in moving forward to duplicate the past is to close one’s self off from the possibility of God doing something new or giving us something that we need more than a simple repetition of the past, no matter how wonderful that past may have been.

So this year let’s look forward to what God can do for us, what we can do for others, and what we can do for ourselves to make the best of very unusual circumstances.

Let’s be open to the possibility that, when our number of close contacts is limited, the relationships that we are able to enjoy can be richer and more meaningful.

Let’s consider that quieter, less frenetic celebrations can have their own charms.

Let’s remember that Thanksgiving really is about giving thanks, not just big meals, parades, and football, and that, if we are alive and healthy and have people whom we love and who love us, we have a lot to be thankful for.

Let’s put the complaint about the overt commercialism and over-scheduling of Christmas behind us and truly do what we always say we should do – celebrate the Incarnation of the Son of God.

And let’s look forward to 2021 not as a rescue from 2020 (initially life isn’t likely to be that different) but as a fresh offering from God to live in joy and expectation, knowing that God has plenty of good things in store for those who are open to divine possibilities.