Regardless of what has occurred over the last nine months or so, it is not all doom and gloom. Many positives have emerged from some of the negatives that have taken place, writes John Mateara (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
What a year 2020 has been, definitely a year to remember, or
a year to forget depending on how you look at it.
The global pandemic led to protests and riots in parts of
the United States, online learning and remote work stations, virtual meetings,
Covid-19 testing, empty streets and empty airspace with large fleets of
passenger aircrafts stockpiled with an uncertain future.
Even a new vocabulary has transpired, with terms such as
lockdown, quarantine, social distancing, virtual and Zoom parties – it seems
like our everyday wordlist will forever be changed by the words and phrases
that have entered our conversations over the past year.
I am reminded of what the Apostle Paul wrote in
Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose
under the heaven…”
I believe that 2020 has been a season with a purpose, a
season and a time of reflection, alternative planning and measures, where the
‘hidden enemy’ entered into our lives and the world as we know it and
completely altered normality and upended our schedules, routines and plans.
The 2020 season has been for many a time of sorrow and
sadness with loved ones and friends and associates taken by Covid-19. Funerals
and family functions conducted virtually or via livestream has suddenly become
the ‘new normal’.
We have come through much tribulation and yet in the midst of
those trials we can thank God, because we know that He has promised to be with
us and that He will help us. We know that He can use times of suffering to draw
us closer to Him.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials
of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops
perseverance” (James 1:2-3)
Paul continues in Ecclesiastes, “…a time to be born, and a
time to die…a time to break down…and a time to heal… a time to build up…”
Regardless of what has occurred over the last nine months or
so, it is not all doom and gloom. Many positives have emerged from some of the
negatives that have taken place and have caused us to be more understanding and
tolerant towards each other. There has been an increase in faith, compassion,
appreciation and love towards families, friends and neighbours.
As we have entered into the Christmas and festive season,
might I suggest that we look towards the coming days and weeks with gratitude
and thanksgiving for making it this far, let us finish the year with
thanksgiving and gratitude.
As a country we remain Covid-19 free, a big thank you and
appreciation goes towards our health authorities and government leaders in
conjunction with New Zealand, for their diligence and vigilance in ensuring
that our nation is free from the pandemic.
The Apostle Paul declared: “I know both how to be abased,
and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things, I am instructed both to
be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians
Paul learned the secret of being content in any and every
situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. A
spirit of thankfulness makes all the difference.
Giving thanks to God for all His blessings should be one of
the most typical qualities of a believer in Jesus Christ.
I don’t know what trials you may be facing right now, but
God does, and He loves you and is with you. Cultivate a spirit of thankfulness
even in the midst of trials and heartaches.
“A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an
expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues
as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being.” –
James E. Faust
I came across this quote the other day: “It’s not happiness
that brings us gratitude. It’s gratitude that brings us happiness.”
As we give thanks and gratitude this Christmas season, let
us ponder about all that we should be grateful for. Take some time to write
down what you have come to appreciate and are thankful for.
Once you have made up your list then I encourage you to
share your thanksgiving and gratitude to those who you are grateful for, in
other words the recipients of your gratitude.
Remember gratitude and thanksgiving not shared is like a
present or gift wrapped in beautiful wrapping, but never given.
I pray that we all may have a safe and Merry Christmas. God
bless your families that together you might celebrate your Christmas and
festive season with peace and love, joy, thanksgiving and gratitude.
Finally, as the Apostle Paul expressed in Ecclesiastes 3,
“…a time and season to love…and a time of peace.”
Above all may we remember and give thanks to the reason for
the season, and the purpose of all things under the heavens – the birth of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer.
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I
bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you
is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”