"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)
This year has been taxing, to say the very least. We all began the year with our celebrations and our traditional "good luck" foods thinking of the blank slate of months ahead of us and planning on how to make them the best ever. We made our resolutions and set off to create happier more productive lives.
In what seemed like the blink of an eye, everything changed. People were getting sick, the citizens of the world retreated into their homes, jobs were lost, schools were closed and the economy took a nose-dive. Something so tiny that it cannot even be seen created havoc. Weddings were cancelled and funerals could not be planned. We no longer shook hands or gave hugs or even attended worship services. What the government said would be a two-week lockdown became a month, then two months. When we were finally able to resume some normal activities, we did so with masked faces and trepidation. The year certainly has been filled with the unexpected.
The anxiety that has been produced by the unknown has worn us down and we are weary. Some days bring far more questions than answers and it can all get to be too much to handle. During this time we have seen the increase of abuse in the home, alcoholism, drug addiction and suicide. Our seniors have been isolated from their families, and while it has been for their protection and safety, they have paid the price in unending lonely hours.
For those of us who have a relationship with Jesus, hope was able to reign. Although we may also have experienced the anxiety and/or other difficulties, we have the awareness that we have not been abandoned and are not alone. Every time we hear or read the scriptures, we are lovingly reminded that there is nothing in this world more powerful than the Lord, our God. He knows everything, sees everything, hears everything and stays next to each of us. Like a father standing near to his child during the storms of the night, He reaches out His hand and assures us that He will not leave us so there is nothing to fear.
These next two months bring Thanksgiving and Christmas, which are times when we normally gather together with our families and friends. Depending on where you live, this may or may not be possible. However, there are other ways to celebrate. Technology allows several different ways to visit with those we cannot physically be with, and though this isn't preferable, it is a blessing and an option. This also presents a time to carry our gratitude and the love of the Lord to those who serve. We can do something special for our firemen, EMT's or police. We can contact homeless shelters and see what they might need and what we have at our disposal that might help them. If it is allowed, nursing homes would maybe like some bright flowers or Christmas cards for their residents. And there are always children needing toys at Christmas.
Jesus told us to come to Him when we are weary and He will give us rest. One of the greatest ways to pull ourselves out of our own anxiety or loneliness is by reaching out to others. His love abides in our hearts and it is meant to be shared. Yes, this has been an incredibly challenging year and not everyone can afford to do something big but please look for a small way that you can brighten the life of someone who feels forgotten. However hard the year has been for me or you, there are those out there who had it even worse, and a smile, a card, a meal or just a friendly chat could mean the world to them.
I love you all and pray that your week will be filled with those moments when you feel God close and know without a shadow of a doubt that He is in control and there is nothing to fear. God bless.