God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away. And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new."

Revelation 21:4-5

During a speech in 1992, Queen Elizabeth II referred to the year as “Annus Horribilis” (horrible year). I think we are all in agreement that 2020 can go down in history as the newest “Annus Horribilis.”

New Year’s Day 2020 was filled with hope and enthusiasm for the beginning of a new decade. Then the Coronavirus came to America and the world as we knew it was turned upside down. The thought of being in quarantine for months on end seemed like something out of an apocalyptic horror movie, yet here we are, still being kept away from family and friends and our normal daily routines. So much has changed in such a short period of time that it is incomprehensible. Simple things we took for granted, like going to a store, have been changed. The sense of loss has been overwhelming. When caught up in the throes of sadness and despair, it is easy to feel alone and forgotten. Yet as we mourn what has been and may never be again, there are glimmers of hope and renewal like the crocus emerging from the winter snow.

The promise of vaccinating as many people as possible; the slow reopening of our favorite
restaurants and most important, returning to worship, all lead us to the hope of a return to the familiar. 

As we enter this season of reflection and repentance, we need to remember that God our Father is always with us, wiping away our tears, and helping us emerge from these trying times more firm in our faith with gladness and newness in our hearts.

Lord, we thank you for renewing us with your unending love and knowing what we need even when we may not know it ourselves. Amen.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash