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Happy New Year! and Reflections on 2020

Happy New Year! and Reflections on 2020

Happy New Year! I have always loved Luke’s account of the Christmas story. Maybe it is because I grew up watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Linus recounts Luke’s version by memory to explain to Charlie and the gang what Christmas is all about. Maybe it is because of the details that Luke includes, like Mary’s attitude toward the angel’s shocking, troubling, and amazing news - “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, ESV). Mary’s posture of trust and obedience is something that God has been working in us through the circumstances of 2020. 

Many of our plans this year were canceled, tweaked, changed, and then changed again, only to be canceled. That defined many of your lives as well! I have been convicted over and over again to trust God in our life and ministry plans (or canceled ministry plans!) and continue to walk by faith and obedience as Mary did, trusting in the goodness and kindness of God. 

It reminds me of one of the endurance tests that I always faced as a missionary and still do when I travel globally for ACTION - feeling the suffocating heat of being in a packed church, a packed house, a packed bus, or people just packed around me. There is nothing to do but bear up under the heat in that situation and know that, eventually, the bus will stop, I will breathe fresh air and stretch my legs, and it will feel amazing. And this season we are in right now will also come to end, and we will exit the bus…and it will feel amazing! But, for now, we trust and obey what God has for us. 

Another thing that 2020 has taught us to do even more is to count our blessings. Johnston Oatman’s hymn from 1897 has been playing in my head as I drive or walk: “So, amid the conflict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged, God is over all…Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done.” In the midst of the challenges and disappointments, we are mindful and thankful for the many ways God has blessed us. 

We continue to love what we are doing at ACTION and are so thankful for the staff we work with at the home office and also our missionaries and workers around the world. And we are thankful for all of you and your friendship, encouragement, love, and faithful support of ACTION! We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season, finding extra hope and joy in Immanuel - God with us, even if your celebrations look different than usual.