But this I call to mind, and therefore, I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21-23)
We have all been hearing the words, “Thank God 2020 is over!” I know that we have all been looking forward to a brand new 2021. Unfortunately, the events of these past weeks have been shocking and profoundly unsettling. This past year has left me saddened, disappointed, outraged, and sometimes even despairing. I wish that we could just turn the page, closing out this period of pandemic, violence, and hatred, but I know that is not entirely realistic. It is almost as if we have not yet recovered from the hangover from 2020.
Yet, as I was praying about this before I wrote these words, I realized that I can turn the page in my attitude. I can be intentional about refusing to demonize those with whom I disagree. I can continue to seek out sources of information that lift up the good being done all around us. I can invest in the places where I see God’s good work emerging through committed people. I can do my part to plant seeds where the kingdom of God can grow – and I can do that with all of you. I have decided that I will choose hope this day, and in the days ahead.
This is a day of promise as our nation inaugurates a new president, ushering in a new administration. I am choosing to look forward with hope, because we have made it to this moment. However, I will not forget those who have not made it to this day, either due to violence or this pandemic. Yet, I choose hope. I recognize that many who are reading these words do not see hope ahead, but again, I choose hope. I am choosing to see this new year as a new chapter. I remember the words of one of my favorite childhood book characters, Anne of Green Gables: “Every day is fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.” We have just experienced a very sad chapter in our personal and collective histories, but it is not the last chapter. There is always a next chapter. How it will be written is really up to each one of us.
For a new chapter in our nation’s life
O God of peace, during our most difficult times, when our carefully ordered world seems to fall apart, it is you who ignites our hope, one flame at a time. As we enter a year full of unknowns, we turn to you in trust, believing that your gift of hope is the anchor strong enough to hold life together. With it, O Lord, our dreams do not have to perish. Amen.