This year has been a potent reminder that “may you live in interesting times” is a curse. The year has seen natural disasters, civil unrest, viciously polarized politics, and a massive global pandemic which has caused its own enormous set of problems.
I have to admit, it was hard to summon up much enthusiasm for Thanksgiving this year. With COVID cases surging in my area, my wife and I decided to stay home for the holiday rather than visiting relatives. That was nice in some ways; I’ve finally been making progress on losing some weight, so not setting that back with two Thanksgiving meals was good, and we usually spend over 3 hours in the car driving back and forth to see everyone, so skipping that was also welcome. But it was also kind of isolating, and while we managed a video call with my my family and my wife had a phone call with hers, not seeing people was strange.
The pandemic and its resultant shutdowns has also done a number on my wife’s crafting business, so that’s also brought its own set of challenges.
There are certainly things I do have to be grateful for – my own continued employment, that my wife and I have managed to avoid catching COVID so far, that we have a roof over our head and a couple of sweet cats under it to keep us company, but looking at all the chaos, hostility, fear, and uncertainty in the world has definitely put a damper on what is usually my favorite holiday. This past weekend definitely had some anxiety to go with the muted festivity.
But that’s how it goes sometimes. I think a failing of a lot of Christians is our assumption that we’re somehow expected to go from happiness to excitement to glee to enthusiasm – all peaks and no valleys. That wasn’t the experience of Jesus, it hasn’t been the experience of the church throughout the ages and it shouldn’t surprise us when it happens in our lives, either. It is okay to acknowledge that sometimes, things are rough.
God cares, and not just when we’re smiling.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”-The words of Jesus, from John 16:33 (NIV)