What does this new year bring?

By the Rev. Elias H. Lopez, DMin
Director of Pastoral Services
Methodist Health System

’Twas the season. The holidays have come and gone, at least for Christians. Epiphany (January 6) marked the 12th and last day of Christmas, the day commemorating the Magi’s visit to the Christ child. Other faith traditions also celebrate holy days in December and January — Jewish, Buddhist, African, Sikh, Hindu, and more. Themes of faith, hope, love, and joy resound in a variety of worship spaces.

For many, this time of year invites people to step out in faith, anticipating that the world can and will change, and this hope elicits profound joy. But this past holiday season was different. The pandemic made it extremely difficult to see any good news, and our joy was muffled. Seemingly, in the past year the only news we heard was that of turmoil.

But what if the season of faith, hope, love, and joy actually did bring good news for 2021? What if we could step out in faith with hopeful anticipation that the world can change? How that would inspire joy! In truth, this new year is inviting us to celebrate the birth of something that can bring about a real transformation of our world.

What is this new hope?

It is the long-awaited coronavirus vaccine. Its arrival is a call to love our neighbors as ourselves. The good news is that we can do something to stem the tide of this pandemic. We can get vaccinated. We can do this out of love for one another. We can step out in faith and anticipation that this vaccine will ultimately transform our current reality. Just imagine what profound joy we will feel when our voices are no longer muffled. That is cause for celebration!

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