It's 2022. Will this year be "new?"
Who else feels like civilization got paused in March 2020 and hasn’t been the same since?
It’s traditional to wish “Happy New Year” to one another. I sincerely hope 2022 is “new.” 2021 felt like a stale do-over of 2020 that just never got its own identity. It was shrouded in pandemic fear-porn as much as 2020 was. Combine that with more politics, cultural chaos and blend in a bit of inflation, and there you have it. We need a “new” year, not a third unhappy sequel to 2020.
After the contested election of between Trump-Biden in November of ’20, I didn’t have high expectations for this administration. I certainly wasn’t let down. The Democrats’ trifecta of control in 2021 of Congress, the Senate and Presidency was a dumpster fire of attempted socialism, mismanagement, embarrassment (Afghanistan) and cultural tinkering the likes of which we haven’t seen as a culture since the 1960s propagation of “free love.” One of the most entertaining things that developed was the “Let’s Go, Brandon” trend. From t-shirts to stadium chants to airplane banners, the most popular President in history (He got 81 million votes, right? More than any President in history!) sure didn’t seem like it. By the end of 2021, polls showed abysmal support levels for such a supposedly popular candidate. I finished reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow a week ago, and I took comfort in the reality of overly partisan and contentious politics during the 1800 election. It’s happened before, and we survived.
I was so wrong. I distinctly remember telling our church staff that COVID would be old news by the summer of 2020. Here we are marching toward two solid years of this never-ending pandemic. People are simply tired of it. Without Trump-bashing, the MSM doesn’t have a cash cow to milk, so the only rabbit in the hat for the them is to continue to scare us all to death with incessant headlines, horror stories, outbreaks, and vaccine propaganda. Fear sells. The problem for them is that the media’s approval rating has sunk faster than either the Titanic or Joe Biden’s. They’re not credible anymore. CNN is too busy circling their wagons around outed pedophiles in their ranks to care about being accurate anymore.
I don’t have to rehash my views on COVID. I’ve got a series of posts about it. But here’s three books I’d encourage/dare you to read (depending on your political persuasion):
Pandemia: How Coronavirus Hysteria Took Over Our Government, Rights, and Lives by Alex Berenson
The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
The Truth About COVID-19: Exposing The Great Reset, Lockdowns, Vaccine Passports, and the New Normal by Dr. Joseph Mercola & Ronnie Cummins
Coronavirus and the Leadership of the Christian Church: A Sacred Trust Broken by Ernest Springer, Joel Yeager & Daniel O’Roark
Of course politics and COVID gave us all black eyes, but it’s felt like our culture has been in a free-fall. The past two years, especially, feels more insidious? intentional? horrendous? Perhaps a better descriptor of what’s happening in culture is satanic. It’s tempting to blame them (insert whatever group you ideologically oppose), but when we can’t agree on gender, and parents are even helping their children change genders, something wicked has this way come.
Somewhere above politics, COVID and the cultural cesspool, 2021 showed signs of LIFE. I hesitate to describe the joys, lessons, and delights of the year because I know others have experienced such deep hardship, struggled with depression, lost jobs, lost family and friends due to ideology conflicts and more. I am deeply sensitive to others’ accumulated lack of peace.
And yet, there’s still ways to pursue gratitude and life. I shared briefly in my Thanksgiving post Thanksgiving Smokers some highlights from this past year.
I’ve been watching The Matrix Trilogy to prep for watching the new movie that came out last month. There’s a scene in Matrix Revolutions where Morpheus declares to humanity in their bunker city named Zion that even though the machines have waged war against them for 100 years, “We are still here!”His triumphant declaration causes surviving humanity to cheer raucously and to begin a needlessly raunchy dance scene in celebration.
Yet, the mantra of “We are still here,” resonates with me (I’ll refrain from raunchy dancing, to your relief). 2020 and 2021 were trying. And yet, we are still here. Defiant. Triumphant. I can say that because I have a larger perspective than 365 individual days of accumulated culture, COVID, politics and what-not. I can celebrate with joyful grit because of a biblical promise to those who have placed their faith in Christ Jesus:
“…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
What were the “all these things” that the apostle Paul referred to in this passage? “Affliction, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or sword.” Paul teaches that there is something OVER and ABOVE all these things (and our own issues) that gives life. It’s the love of Jesus – “Him who loved us.”
He goes on to say:
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
Neither… nor… nor… nor… nor… nor… nor… nor… nor… nor…
Let’s put it in a nutshell: NOTHING can separate you from the love of Christ that is revealed in His Son Jesus. Only sin can ultimately separate a person from God, and for the person who trusts in Christ, even that has been solved – a person can be saved from their separating sin – by giving their life to Christ in faith.
In your face 2021
When I reflect on 2021, I am thankful I chose the path of faith. It was not easy and certainly more unpopular than I remember in my lifetime to do so. Even Christians spoke words of discouragement to me about choosing a path of life, faith, hope, joy and vibrancy. It was as if they wanted me to drink the Kool-Aid that our culture urges them to drink over the past two years. But that brackish ooze is not for my consumption. I choose the fresh juice squeezed from the fruit of God’s Spirit.
So, hello 2022, and happy new year! It’s not important what your 365 days bring. I see OVER and ABOVE whatever you may bring and choose a vibrant life of faith. Something better is coming. Or rather, someOne better is coming back.