Josh Medlock, Director of Student Ministries
Were you one of the millions of people watching the election results this past Tuesday night?
Were you surprised that we didn’t have a clear winner that evening?
Are you surprised that as of this morning, we still haven’t had an official winner declared for the office of President of the United States?
My friends, the statement “It’s 2020” applies here.
We say that now whenever something happens that is unusual, unplanned, or seems to affect everyone all at once.
This year has been one of firsts for all of humanity in many regards.
It has been a year filled with uncertainty and the inability to plan ahead. At least it has for me.
Many of you know that I am indeed a planner. All of the events for First Youth this year were planned in 2019.
Of course with the pandemic almost all of those plans fell through or had to be radically changed.
So here we are in November.
Halloween has passed. Thanksgiving is coming.
I waited patiently for Halloween to see how many kids would actually knock on my door this year.
The bell rang seven times. Then it was over.
I have to be honest and tell you that I really didn’t feel anything once it was gone and over with.
Nor was I upset that the bell only rang seven times.
I felt a slight twinge of sadness for the little ones who were denied the opportunity to go out and celebrate the holiday with friends and family.
But at the end of the day I was actually glad more people weren’t out. It meant many chose to stay home and stay safe.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner.
Usually by now we have had conversations about whose house we celebrate at this year, the menu, what time we are eating, who is bringing what … you know, all the normal stuff that families do to get ready to gather for a holiday.
This year is different. We are just now talking about it at my house.
Determining whether we will gather with a lot of family is difficult this year. Do we risk it? Who is going to wear a mask and who isn’t? Will anyone be sick?
I am not really worried about the menu or whose house we will be at.
I am now wondering if we will know who the President will be by then. Surely we will … right?
Christmas is coming!!! Christmas is coming!!!
I am one of those dads who waits until AFTER Thanksgiving to put up any Christmas decorations.
This year, I found myself hunting for the Christmas boxes yesterday in the garage.
I am thinking we will have ours up by the end of next week. That will be a first for me.
I am feeling uncertain and would like to surround myself with a little joy and happiness.
Hard not to be joyful during Christmas.
The music, the trees, the lights, the nativity set.
We get to celebrate the biggest thing to happen to humanity…the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.
So move over Thanksgiving, Christmas is coming early at my house this year.
Right now I find it difficult to navigate social media without getting angry or frustrated.
I find it increasingly difficult to watch the news and try to wade through what is accurate and what is not.
I am realizing that not everyone is seeing what I am seeing or hearing what I am hearing, and that makes it difficult to have meaningful and transformative conversations.
I am not sure if any of you are having the same problems or feelings right now.
If you are, then like me, you find yourself once again waiting.
Waiting for the chaos to settle.
Waiting for love to replace the hate filled speech and actions of those around us.
Waiting for discernment and wisdom to replace ignorance and selfish ambition.
The whole world waited over 2000 years ago, when God chose to be among us in human form through Jesus the Christ.
A new way, a new beginning, a new wisdom was shared with us and transformation began.
Through his suffering and death, that transformation is still happening.
We struggle to see transformation right now because our eyes are focused on worldly things.
These things have distracted us and distanced us from being in relationship with one another and with God.
We recently discussed the word HOPE in First Youth during one of our virtual lessons.
I reminded them that we can have hope because we have made it through dark times before.
Every one of us, at some point in our lives, has been through a trauma or situation that we could refer to as “dark times.”
Some of us have been through these times more often than others.
But one thing remains true for all of us … we are still here.
If you are reading this, then you made it through.
It may not have turned out the way you hoped. You may not have gotten the results you wanted.
Things are most certainly different because of it. But you made it through.
And we will make it through 2020. Things may not turn out the way you hoped. You may not get what you wanted. Things will definitely be different.
God is transforming the world. We are being transformed.
God is with us, always. Now and forever. So have hope.
The light is going to turn green and we are all going to go through the intersection.
We have no idea what that road looks like right now, but we will navigate it together and God will be with us.
We just have to wait.
I think I am going to dig out the Christmas boxes today.
Maybe the neighbors won’t be too upset if I hang the outside lights up next week.
Guess I will have to wait and see.
Blessings and the Peace of Christ be with each of you.