A Clean Slate?

It has been a strange end to 2020. For starters, there are more Covid-19 cases after Christmas get togethers seem to have accelerated the rate of infection. Many states have extended their quarantine restrictions and New Year’s Eve parties were, for the most part, restricted. In fact, it was strange to see Times Square virtually empty. There were still some entertainers but very few people watched events unfold.

Ryan Seacrest and other hosts had a tough time filling up airtime as there weren’t any crowds to interview or interesting people watching the acts. It was so different from last year that the contrast was striking. A year ago we weren’t thinking about wearing masks or being socially distant. On the financial front, who could have predicted the drop in the markets; and the subsequent rebound to new highs as the year came to an end?

Keeping our distance from one another has become a way of life… We are careful where we shop and don’t take risks when it comes to catching “the virus.” The country is in political turmoil and even the healthcare experts seem inconsistent when advising us how we can try to stay healthy.

One of the things that usually happens at the end of the year is that we look forward to new beginnings – a chance to start over. We get to wipe the slate clean on January 1st of each year and renew our resolutions to get in shape, or read the Bible cover to cover, or take piano lessons, or whatever else we are optimistic about undertaking.

While most of us were eager for 2020 to end, the beginning of 2021 is different from any other year most of us have ever experienced. The virus is still going strong, with 350,000 Americans passing away so far since the initial outbreak in our country. Yesterday, we lost more Americans to the virus than Americans who were killed at Pearl Harbor or in New York on 9/11. We have hope for the vaccines and maybe by the end of 2021, things will be returning to normal. In the meantime, we must endure…\

We have tens of thousands of people who have lost their businesses and just because we have turned the page on a new year, it doesn’t mean that employment numbers suddenly get better or people get their companies back. Our problems are really serious and in the next several days we will see the results of the senatorial elections in Georgia to determine which party will control the Senate of the U.S. The election will have consequences that will help determine the path of the country for the next several years.

So, try as we might, this year really doesn’t feel like we are getting a clean slate, does it? And that isn’t something that we are used to… We love second chances – and this year feels more like a continuation of last year. We are told that it is going to be a great year, but that seems more optimistic than realistic with the data available to us at this time.

But there will be a time when we really do get a clean slate. And that brings us to our verse for the evening. In the book of Revelation, the apostle John is privileged to get a glimpse of the future during a dream that he had. John tells us that things will change. There will be a new heaven and a new earth – God will be with His people and there will be no more death or despair – no more tears!

John then tells us, in Revelation 21:5, “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” My encouragement this evening is that we will have a chance to wipe the slate clean and have a fresh start. My prayer is that we will all adopt a posture of gratitude as we start 2021 and realize that God has this handled. One way or another we will persevere and sooner or later, we will return to normal. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…


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