The countdown happened at 8:30pm at our house, complete with sparklers, fountains and noise makers. We rang in the New Year with kids laughing and yelling “Happy New Year!” Prior to the brief party we went around the dinner table and shared two highlights of 2020 and two things that were challenging from the year. During our family prayers that evening we decided to skip intentions and instead to solely pray in thanksgiving for all of the blessings we had received in 2020.
There is no doubt 2020 was difficult and challenging. It stretched most of us in new ways, even at times what felt like to our limit. What we knew as the norm was done away with and we had to adapt to a new lifestyle mixed with fear and uncertainty. Not knowing when things would be “normal” again.
It was a year we saw our Churches closed, attended Mass virtually and longed to receive the Eucharist once again. Spring breaks and vacations were cancelled. Visits with family and friends became limited and sparse. Easter was celebrated with only immediate family in our homes and we all learned of zoom and virtual meetings.
A year of mourning what was loss and longing for what was taken from us. It was a time filled with more stillness and less busyness. More being and less doing. More time together to be present and less going through the motions. Truly a year of change and challenges.
In the trials and difficulties, I can look back and see many blessings. While so many plans were put on hold, new ones were formed. Memories made that perhaps wouldn’t have been otherwise. It was a time to become intentional in our relationships.
A few highlights from 2020 were celebrating each of my children’s birthdays. Family movie nights and eating dinner around the campfire. Day trips and stay-cations. Visiting family and going camping. Watching Kolbe and Ethan play baseball and the joy it brought them. Celebrating 13 years of marriage. Being invited as a speaker to two virtual conferences and being a guest on EWTN.
As I look ahead to the New Year 2021, as I set goals and plan I realize the vast uncertainty of life. Reflecting on that reality can cause unrest and anxiety, but the underlying truth is one that can and does bring comfort. Our lives are guided by the Holy Spirit if we allow it to be, our dreams whether they go according to plan or not are under God’s loving and providential care. In that truth is where joy and hope is found. There our hearts can truly be at peace no matter what this new year may bring.
Wishing you all a most joyous Christmas season and a blessed New Year!!