What are you hoping for in the new year? Have you been thinking about that? The past few days have been filled with people saying how glad they will be to see 2020 go, moved to the year view mirror, or made a distant memory. Those are the sentiments the misery of facing a global pandemic will churn in us. If only it were as easy as turning the page on the calendar. Sadly, disappointingly, we’re likely to awaken to a 2021 that looks a lot like the end of 2020. I don’t mean to be a Daniel Downer, and I am optimistic that 2021 is going to eventually bring a brighter future, it’s just going to take a while.
So, realistically, what are your hopes for 2021? I’ve heard things like “being able to hug my (fill in the blank) – Mom, Grandma, grandchildren, neighbor . . . Having never been one that was too keen on hugs I’d have to say this one is not that high on my list, but I can understand the sentiment behind it. We’ve had to be so distanced from one another this past year, the need for compassionate touch is real. Handshakes, fist bumps, side hugs and even bear hugs will be welcomed (for the most part) in 2021. I envision a day when we can have a big facemask bonfire, shake hands at church again, and serve each other communion (though perhaps those things do not happen all together).
What else might we be hoping for? Speaking of church, I’m hoping for the resumption of in-person worship. We did 20 weeks of online only worship in our congregation in 2020 and we will begin 2021 that same way. I have not seen some people face to face since early March of 2020. While I am thankful for the ability to be connected in that way, I’m ready to see people in the pews again. Aren’t you?
I’m also hoping for a year in which the news cycle doesn’t cover numeric reports of deaths, hospitalizations or positive tests. Wouldn’t you like to see that feature go away in the newspaper or evening news? While thinking about the news, I would add the hope that we can return to a pattern where the President is not always in the daily news, or bomb basting us via Twitter. I yearn for public servants who don’t need to be in the spotlight all the time, but are more interested in the serving part of the title. I’d even go so far as to hope for a congress that can work together in a bi-partisan fashion and get things done. (One can always hope!)
There are a few things I hope we can carry with us into this new year from the year we’re leaving behind. I hope neighbors continue to wave and speak to one another like they have this year. I hope we continue to appreciate people who work and sacrifice for the good of the public – people like medical workers, teachers, grocery clerks/stockers and delivery personnel. I hope people continue to speak up for justice and stand up when there is injustice. I hope we will remember to cultivate some of the habits we may have developed last year as a means of both coping, like appreciating God’s creation: watching the squirrels that run along our back fence, taking a daily walk with the dog and family members, reading out on the screened porch, growing a garden and tending it with the coming generation.
I hope our prayer life will be seen as important in 2021 as it was in 2020, especially as the urgency of the crisis abates. I hope creativity that was birthed of necessity last year in education, worship, and business will morph into more expressions of the human spirit reflecting the Holy Spirit. I hope for a robust return of the arts, as people once again feel safe making music together, and appreciating the gift that it is to all of us.
I hope to travel without fear of having forgotten my face mask or run out of hand sanitizer. I hope to enjoy our son’s wedding unencumbered by all things Covid. I hope to see young people graduate with their families present, stadiums filled with well-meaning fans, and something like “normalcy” return with extended family reunions and holiday gatherings.
I do not hope to forget last year, because remembering it – the bad and the good – makes us more hopeful for the new year that we are on the threshold of living.
What about you? What are some of the things you are hoping for in the new year?