Much has been written about these challenging days of 2020.  It will no doubt be remembered as the year when the world was brought to its knees; when in some ways, darkness overshadowed the earth.  Some might even say when the world stood still.  Our lives were certainly changed.  A global pandemic was upon us.  We were scared.  We were confused.  We were glued to our televisions, seeking information and ready made answers.  But it was not to be. 

Our fast paced lives slowed to a quick halt.  We were told to social distance.  We were asked to wear masks, to sanitize our hands.  Our parks, churches, schools and businesses were all closed down.  There were lockdowns on every continent.  Home was our safest place to be.  As we endured those initial months of lockdown, of working from home, of being in virtual classrooms, of watching Mass live streamed, we learned a different reality; a new way of being family together.  It is often said that although times of great hardship and suffering are chaotic, tension-filled, and nerves are stretched, it can also be a time of great blessing.  I’ve read stories and heard testimonials that a slower pace was a welcome change.  That there was actually quality time being spent between parents and children.  That not being able to be with other loved ones far and near made us appreciate them even more.  Maybe home was becoming a sacred space for us in a variety of ways never imagined.  Blessings often do come as little “surprises.”

For me there were several lines of songs from the Jesuits of years past this Advent/Christmas season that came as old yet new “surprises” filled with meaning. 

“When the winter’s darkness casts its gloom upon the earth, and summer’s sun has gone to sleep, where love has lost its way, a word of hope is spoken to the world!”

“And on that day a hope shall rise for those who seek, a light shall shine for those who walk amid the gloom.”

“God, you come like the morning on the darkness of night, as a light to the people, like the breaking of day.”

“A time will come for singing a hymn by hearts foretold, that kings have sought for ages and treasured more than gold.  Its lyrics turn to silver when sung in harmony.  The Lord of Love will teach us to sing its melody.”

Music is a blessing and really listening to the words can bring us newfound insights.  Christ came to be one with us, to transform our lives.  He calls us each year to begin anew.  What lessons has this past year taught you?  What blessings have come your way, even in the midst of a pandemic time?  

The Lord of Love is here…among us…always.  How will you be that providential presence to a world waiting to be healed.

Happy New Year! 

Barbara McMullen, CDP

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