Looking at a foggy 2020 with 20/20 vision reveals that we are blessed!
By Bishop Peter Christensen
for the Idaho Catholic Register
Who would have thought at this time last year that 2020 would be a year of so little good cheer? Soon after the new year began, the world seemed to have spun out of its orbit as that which we take for granted as being normal was no more.
The best way I can describe this radical change in our lives is that this year was like walking in the center of a donut made of fog. It has been hard to know what to expect next. What the future holds is not readily apparent, leaving us to question: What’s next?
However, that being said, this year I have been made well-aware of two things: First, the favors of God are not spent. Second, there is enough light in the center of the donut to take the next steps – affording us the opportunities to do that which must be done for our good and the good of others. Our long-distance vision is limited, but our daily needs, as we journey through this life, are being met.
The photo image of me on the cover of this issue – staged as it was – illustrates the year well. It shows me tangled in the mess of preparing a donut-shaped wreath for the house. Although things seem tangled and confused at the time, perseverance and calm bring a completed project into order and beauty. When our focus is placed on the tasks at hand, it is then that the projects of our lives and the things asked of us, are brought to an orderly fulfillment.
Think back to the first Christmas. I can’t imagine that Mary and Joseph would have thought or said that it was a picture-perfect time in their lives. For Mary, what a time to have to make the 80-mile trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem on a donkey while pregnant, only to find out there was no room in any place that offered decent housing to give birth to the Son of God. Talk about confusing times and a foggy journey. Regardless, it was apparent to these parents that the hand of God was taking care of the needs of this truly holy family. Mary and Joseph offer an important message to the world that even in the crazy and seemingly desperate times of our lives, God remains present.
The fog in which we live will lift. A bigger, brighter view of life will return. This current time has the ability to make us more aware of all our benefits and teaches us greater dependence on our Lord. Again, my brothers and sisters, his favors are not spent. As Scripture says:
In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet in the way of peace. (Canticle of Zechariah, Luke 1:78-79)
The original meaning of the word, “Noel” is “to be born.” The French took the word and made it the Christmas greeting “news” – in reference to the Good News announcing the birth of Christ.
Each Christmas we celebrate anew the birth of Christ, reminding us that Our Lord is ever-present in all moments of our lives. He is present whether we see His plan unfolding with greater vision, or in the baby steps we are to take in total trust and dependence on our loving Father in Heaven.
Noel, Emmanuel, God is with us, is to be our bold proclamation of faith this year and in the New Year to come.
'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.'