In a season like this, we are all tempted to turn inward. That’s natural enough – we need to take care of ourselves, we are all by ourselves, and we all have our own opinions. But for the Christian, our focus should be different. Our eyes should be fixed on a different place. And ironically, our focus is really the most practical way we can continue to endure.
Every year, Mirriam-Webster announces their word of the year. It’s largely determined by what words dictionary users have been searching for, and is assumed to be caused by some political, cultural, or societal event. In essence, then, the word of the year can be a sort of summary of what’s been happening in the world over the last twelve months.
For example, in 2016 the word of the year was “surreal.”
In 2017, it was “feminism.”
2018 was “justice.”
And 2019 was “they.”
I leave that list there with no explanation because that’s kind of the point, right? It’s to make us remember what was happening at a given time and see if we agree that this word is a good summation of that period. But I’m wondering today – what will the word of the year be for 2020?
I’m sure you have some opinions: Catastrophe? Pandemic? Mask? Shutdown? Social distance? Protest? Any of these are viable contenders. But what if we took it from a Christian perspective? What would our word of the year be? For me, there’s a clear frontrunner:
Because that’s what this year has felt like. Not a year to be enjoyed; not a year to thrive; not a year to rest. It’s not that those things haven’t happened, because they have. It’s that in the midst of all those other things, it’s felt and continues to feel like this is the season in which we are all learning about endurance.
Not a very exciting word, certainly. It has the connotation of something unpleasant; a necessary evil that must just be gotten through to get to the other side. But despite what the feelings the word – and the action – might conjure in us, endurance is important for the Christian.