Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)
Happy New Year! I wonder if you are waking up this morning breathing a sigh of relief that 2020 is behind you. Are you grateful to be looking forward to the promises and possibilities of 2021? I have an annual practice of settling into my prayer chair early in the morning on New Year’s Day to reflect on the previous year, before contemplating the goals and dreams I have for the year ahead. Reading through my journal helps me to remember the highlights of the year, the challenges I faced, and the blessings.
Throughout 2020, my heart ached for those whose burdens seemed to far outweigh my own. I often felt guilty for not suffering in deep and tragic ways as a result of this pandemic. Just as often, however, I was reminded of the wise counsel I received from a pastor friend many years ago. She told me not to compare my life to anyone else’s because God sees each of us and cares for us equally. She said that my happiness and the blessings in my life do not come at someone else’s expense. Not one of us was spared hardship in 2020, but we weren’t denied the good gifts of God either.
As I reflect on 2020, I recall the anguish I felt in early April when I couldn’t fly to Maryland to be with our daughter who lay in a ketoacidosis coma in Maryland. God’s gift to me during that time was a deeper dependence and trust. When our son and daughter-in-law began to revisit their November wedding plans, God gifted our family with wisdom and creativity. And I can’t forget the gift of inspiration that I received all year long to lead Children’s Ministry in this new virtual world. Despite all the social distancing and decision fatigue, God poured out abundant blessings of guidance, comfort, peace, and joy.
Though the circumstances of our lives take twists and turns, the Messiah who was born on Christmas Day never changes. Regardless of what year it is, we can always depend on the gifts of God – love, scripture, and the grace given to us every day.
In response to God’s generosity, what gifts can we bring to 2021? As I ponder and pray about what I can offer, I know that God wants me to fully embrace each day as a gift and to take advantage of every opportunity to use my time, talents, and resources to make a difference for others. Endeavoring to be like Christ, regardless of what each day brings, is the greatest gift we can offer God in the new year.
Blessings for 2021,
Director of Children’s Ministry
For an awareness of God’s gifts and blessings
Dear God, Thank you for making all things new. Thank you for all that you’ve allowed into our lives this past year, the good things along with the hard things, which have reminded us how much we need you and rely on your presence filling us every single day. We pray for your Spirit to lead us each step of this New Year.
Reflect with your family about the last year. What worked? What did not? Here are three questions from a list of 20, to discuss with your family in the New Year.
What was an important lesson you learned from your family this year?
What did your family accomplish this year that you are most proud of?
What was the biggest disappointment for your family this year?
Using a printable calendar, children can make a Handprint Calendar for 2021.
To remember the gifts of Jesus, God’s love and the Bible, preschool children can make a Treasure Box of God’s Blessings.