Aware of my practice of choosing a word to focus on for the new year, a friend asked me what my word for 2021 was. Still reeling from 2020, and especially since Covid-19 had invaded my family and changed our Christmas plans, I hadn’t given it much thought.
Flattered that an inquiring mind wanted to know, I settled in for some reflection. When God guided me to the word gratitude, I resisted. “I’m already grateful,” I argued. “Haven’t I kept a gratitude journal for years?”
But when my family was able to gather for a belated Christmas celebration, how sweet it was! As much as I’d enjoyed holidays in the past, nothing compared to this one. It sparkled with love.
I used to take such moments for granted. Family gatherings had been a frequent occurrence, after all. I hadn’t been as grateful as I could have been.
My Word for 2021
Still, I wasn’t yet sold on the word God had instilled in my mind. But when I looked back at my gratitude journal, I found my objects of gratitude tended to be:
- Extraordinary events
- An occasional spiritual blessing
- A new ________ (fill in the blank)
- A big University of Georgia football win
- A long-awaited answer to prayer
- Broad terms such as family, friends, health
God was right, of course. My word for 2021 is gratitude, but with a different slant.
If I’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s to appreciate the ordinary. Time and again, what used to be everyday moments became extraordinary.
At that belated family gathering, once an ordinary event, my heart oozed with gratitude and joy. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
I should never take God’s gifts for granted. He’s right there, in the ordinary, as much as He’s in the spectacular. I believe that’s what God was teaching me: Be grateful in all situations and “seek His face always” (Psalm 105:4 NIV).
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17 ESV).
Normalcy. Routine. The same old, same old. I welcome it. I resolve to appreciate the everyday moments of life like never before. God is present in the ordinary, and He never changes. And that is extraordinary.
Shouldn’t I be on-my-knees grateful?
We’ll never fully understand the events of 2020, but we can rest assured that God was in in —from beginning to end. And He will make “everything beautiful in its time” Ecclesiastes 3: 11a.
What about you? What did God teach you in 2020, or what new way of thinking will you take into 2021?If I've learned anything from this pandemic, it's to appreciate the ordinary. Time and again, what used to be everyday moments became extraordinary. Click To Tweet