If you’re like me, the season of giving thanks has been complicated by the imposition of the pandemic, but the blessings of relationships have taken on greater value and significance. Someone asked me if I was considering any Black Friday shopping, and my response was that all I wanted was time with loved ones whom I have been separated from for far too long.
With this longing for time with loved ones comes a greater appreciation of the aspects of those relationships that we sometimes take for granted. The first is the quality of time we spend with our loved ones versus the quantity of time we share. We see this on both sides of the spectrum. For those with whom the pandemic has limited our interactions, there is a pressing need to make the most of the limited time that we have together. There may also be others we have been forced to spend more time with due to lockdowns. This additional exposure does not mean a greater depth of connection unless there is intentionality. The pandemic should help us all realize that we need to be intentional with our interactions.
In addition to intentionality, I have placed a greater value on face-to-face interactions. Don’t get me wrong, the convenience of a Zoom meeting while wearing a pair of shorts has its allure, but let’s face it, it’s not the same. I miss shaking hands, hugging, and sharing a meal in a large group. I don’t want this to sound like a lament, but rather a blessed moment of finding the real value in something I had overlooked. For many of us, text-based communication has replaced live interaction. I hope this time has caused us to reevaluate our interactions to the point of implementing change.
Another challenge of this time has been to witness the ups and downs many have encountered. I hope that we have taken the opportunity to grow in empathy during this season. Something had to challenge the narcissism that had begun to define our evolving culture. I certainly would not have chosen a global pandemic as a possible cure, but it is most definitely an opportunity for such growth. It is essential that we look to the needs of others during this time. It is also essential that we are honest about our own needs as well.
I love how Paul frames this in giving instruction to God’s family.
Ephesians 5:15-21 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. -ESV
As we journey through Advent together, I pray that we will all make the very most of each opportunity we have to share the Love of Christ with one another.
Loving you all,