Across the Pastor’s Desk: Important to look for silver lining

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Tim O’Shields

 

Last Thanksgiving, as we approached Advent and Christmas 2019, who could have imagined what 2020 would bring? The NCAA March Madness was canceled, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was virtual with no spectators, we have spent more time on Zoom than we have in our cars commuting to work and we are not routinely worshiping in person in our churches.

Who could have imagined the numbers of people who would become ill with COVID-19 or the numbers of people who would die from this virus? It has been quite a different year. It has certainly been the hardest year that I can remember in a variety of ways.

Timothy O’Shields

And now, we journey through Advent — the season of hope and expectation of the coming of Christ. We patiently wait for the coming of the light of the world and all its goodness, joy and wholeness. It seems that is exactly what we need today, but it seems that hope and joy are not so obvious these days.

With all the challenges and problems in our world from COVID-19, political division, social unrest and racial tensions, it seems that the dark, heavy storm clouds of life and the world are looming over us in a big way.

There is an old saying: “For every storm cloud, there is a silver lining.” This is where the season of Advent and its anticipation of hope and joy meet the silver lining of storm clouds. I can sum that intersection up in two words: Jesus Christ.

Regardless how dark and gloomy the storm clouds of life appear to be, we can always find light in Jesus Christ. When we are hoping against hope for good things in life and in the world, it is Jesus Christ that will pull us through. All things are possible through Christ.

In Romans 15:13 we hear, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

At this season of Advent, and every day of the year, my prayer is that we, as a community, look for the silver lining in our storm clouds as we strengthen our relationship with God through continuous, serious prayer and through dwelling in God’s word often. It is then that we can put the storm clouds of the worldly world behind us and rejoice!

Philippians 4:4a-7, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Have a blessed Advent and Christmas season and a most outstanding 2021 with Christ at the center! Alleluia.

Tim O’Shields is pastor of Bear Lake Concordia and St. Paul Lutheran Parish in Albert Lea and Conger. He can be reached at pastorblspelca@gmail.com.