We have finally come to the end of the year that will forever live in infamy…the year otherwise known as 2020.
This year has been one of the most difficult seasons in the human experience in recent history as we watched a pandemic quite literally sweep across the globe and shut down life as we knew it.
Generally across the nation and the world we watched as people began to die from this virus that no one knew anything about. We watched on as some of our favorite businesses began to close up shop never to open again. We watched on as individuals began losing their jobs in devastating rates. We watched as people began to become disconnected with one another as we holed up in our homes trying to slow the spread per our governments recommendations and mandates. We had a tumultuous election (here in America) that saw our current president, Donald Trump, unseated. We had to try and navigate holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas with many states returning to lockdown status, and other states remaining open. This clearly made it hard for families to enjoy their time together. And to round the year off, there was a bombing in Nashville on Christmas Day that knocked out communications across Tennessee for several days.
In the midst of all of this we saw cities erupting in riots, destruction, and mayhem as people responded in anger to various situations involving the police and several different men and women who were killed by them. I personally watched the protests and marches in Greenville, SC from a balcony directly on Main Street with my family. To say we were nervous would be an understatement.
Strange things began to happen over the year too…strange things like toilet paper disappearing off the shelves. Not food. Not water. Not milk. Not bread. No sir. It was the toilet paper! Which, if I’m going to be perfectly honest, has to be one of the strangest phenomenon to have happened this year, or perhaps my entire life.
Difficult things began to take place for churches too. Many of them closed their doors never to open again. Some of them closed their doors temporarily, reopened, and then closed them again. Many churches refused to adhere to any recommendations and remained open completely, and saw their pastors and church leaders get arrested as they defied various local mandates. There were church staff lay offs, budget cuts, and a whole lot more.
Many churches began to get creative on how they could still gather without violating mandates and without putting the elderly in their congregations at risk resulting in virtual church, or drive-in church, or house church, and a whole slew of other creative ways.
Many churches began to wake up to the reality that they had placed all of their eggs in their “Sunday Services” basket and began to rethink why they existed and challenged their church body to think outside the box and find creative ways to reach their neighborhoods and communities.
I could probably go on and on about the many facets that made up 2020. But, suffice it to say, it was tumultuous, unpredictable, and down right awful in many ways.
As a podcast, the Angry Christian Podcast had its own adventures. We explored various topics through out season 2 ranging from racism to politics, divorce, COVID19, and more. Most of which was inspired by events taking place at the time of recording.
Season 3 was a bit different, however, as we explored a singular topic, “Who is Jesus?” Each episode was centered around various ways people have defined Jesus. It was a fun season that took a detour from our normal route and spent an entire season answering that one question.
The Angry Christian Podcast has grown in many ways, not the least of which is in our listener base. As of the recording of this episode, the podcast has had over 15,000 downloads over the course of 3 seasons. This is truly amazing! Each episode is averaging between 400 and 1000 downloads! That’s crazy!
So while 2020 has certainly brought us its many challenges, there are also as many, if not more, things to celebrate.
It’s easy to get bogged down with the depressing things that 2020 brought. Especially that whole toilet paper fiasco. What were people thinking?? But seriously, we cannot remain focused on the negative aspects. We will always be depressed if we do.
Instead, we need to try and recall the many ways that God has blessed us, and kept us, and protected us…even if we didn’t see it right away.
For example, here’s some examples from each of the hosts of the Angry Christian Podcast:
Brian says, “My son was born.”
Michael says, “No one in my immediate family got COVID.”
Jonathan says, “Spent a lot more time with my family since we’ve all been at home since March. My Band released our first album back in July.” (link to Jonathans band on Spotify)
Brad (that’s me) says, “I felt like, early on in the pandemic anyway, that we really began to see the true church shine through all the consumer driven mess that we have allowed to…well…consume us. I also got to spend a lot of extra time with my wife and kids as I was able to work from home, and find creative ways to spend our days.”
But you know what? The positivity doesn’t stop with us. I reached out to you, our listeners, and asked for the same thing. Here are some positives that others found in 2020:
Anna says, “I was able to maintain a healthy pregnancy despite 2020 being one of the most stressful years of teaching I’ve ever had. And then he arrived and he’s been an amazing baby.”
Deborah says, “We got pregnant the second time around much faster and easier after so much struggle with the first. And our first is growing into such a smart little guy.”
Dale says, “God gave His people an opportunity to be still and refocus on what’s truly important. He gave us an opportunity to make preparations to minister in a world that will be very different in 2021.”
Cherie says, “I planted a garden and learned so much about growing and healing. It may have been a rough year but I think I needed it.”
Mindy says, “I learned that birds are actually very interesting, and we have more species in my yard than I expected.”
Bud says, “Something I already knew before the Pandemic hit. Journey Church in Ladson SC is more than a building. We continued to “fight for joy” throughout 2020 with Jesus by our side. Looking forward to a blessed and joyful 2021 in the Lord.”
Jamie says, “My business made it even though we had to shut down for a while.”
Daniel says, “I believe this year has allowed us to spend some quality time with our spouse and children that will pay off in great ways for Christ in 2021. I am excited about what God has done with our family in 2020, and more excited with 2021. All to bring glory to our Savior and Lord, Jesus’ name.”
See there? 2020 wasn’t all that bad, was it?
2021 is here, and new adventures and new challenges await us.
The Angry Christian Podcast will be kicking off SEASON 4 in February (4 seasons? No way!!) and, there are some interesting things that will be getting announced about the various adventures that the hosts of this podcast will be taking (or have already started). Don’t worry, these adventures won’t take us away from you. Instead, I think you’ll find that they will bring us all a bit closer.
With all of that said, let us thank the Lord for what 2020 brought us, and prepare ourselves for what 2021 will bring us. God uses all of our circumstances for our benefit. We may just not always see it right away.
And as we head in to this new year, let me just say one more time for old times sake…
Don’t be angry.