Can you believe it? We have almost made it to the end of 2020. And what a year it has been: a year in which the world seemed both scary and amazing, loving and hateful, beautiful and barbaric.
I think we all have been asking a lot of questions this year, and I suspect that one of the questions many of you are asking in earnest right now is, “what am I to expect in 2021?”
I don’t have the prescience needed to give you the details; none of us do. But, it is probably safe to argue that if we were to consciously think about it, the year 1 or 2021—and all the years in between—could probably be described the way I just described 2020 above. (In my head, I can hear my father saying on of his favorite maxims: “there is nothing new under the sun.”)
Certainly, we have seen many things in 2020 that might arguably belie that notorious maxim. But what if we were to shift the object of our inquiries away from the momentous events that might transpire in 2021 to ourselves. In other words, maybe the most important question that we should be asking is, “what will be different about me—in 2021?”
Roughly sixty years after the birth of Jesus, St. Paul wrote these words to Christians living in and around the city of Ephesus:
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe.
The season of Epiphany, which is almost here, is a season in which we are called to open fresh eyes to the truth of who Jesus is and to how he and his presence affectively changes our lives, opens our hearts, and alters our questions.
May it be that today we not only ask what might change, but how we might be changed, so that we might truly embody what St. Paul wished for the Ephesians so many years ago, and what he wishes for us—in 2021.