Our kids have a weird tradition whenever we drive through the tunnels on Adelaide’s South-Eastern Freeway: They hold their breath until we’re out the other side. Why? I don’t have time (or importantly, a good answer) to get into that.
I have a feeling that the coming New Year’s Eve is going to be celebrated with greater than usual gusto. 2020 has been a hated year and become a reviled number. Again and again we’ve seen on social media comments like “2020 strikes again.” It’s like we’re collectively holding our breath until we get through these last few weeks.
I get that it is some sort of coping mechanism, but let’s admit that it’s unhelpful and childish, just when the world needs help and maturity. It is victim language, as though this year is just something that happened to us. Putting everything onto the arbitrary year-number is a powerful form of fatalism, and the problem with fatalism is that we resign from responsibility. When you think about it, holding one’s breath is about the most passive thing one can do.
The other problem, of course, is that there’s no guarantee that the dawn of Friday January 1st is going to usher in peace and prosperity. It’s putting our hopes in sheer luck – it is actual astrology.
When you think about yourself as an agent, and agent of God’s kingdom, no less, you simply can’t go down that path. We are responsible agents. It’s true we can’t fix everything, but it’s also true that we can wake up each day and ask the Lord ‘What can I do to help?’.
Even in a pandemic; even in economic and political upheaval; even if China, or worse, New Zealand take us over, then there’s plenty for us to do, and we can see 2021 as a year of worship and a year of mission. Instead of holding our breath, are there people we can encourage? Real hope we can share? Instead of counting the days, let’s make every day count.