The most wonderful time of the year
If you had told me this time last year that 2020 would be marked by a global pandemic requiring face coverings, social distancing, and a general upsetting of our “normal” every day from Spring Break forward, I would never have believed you. But here we are. What a difference a year makes!
As difficult as this year has been, especially for those among us who have lost loved ones to a virus we had never heard of a year ago, the Lord has shown Himself strong. If we’re being honest, it may be that we have experienced God in ways we never have before. Why is that? Because we had no other choice.
The one thing I hope we all take from this strange year is that relying completely on God is the safest place to be. Always has been. Always will be.
But we are quick to forget how much we need God when it seems we can get everything we want without Him. I realize we can’t actually do anything without Him, but “confidence in the flesh” sometimes convinces us otherwise (Philippians 3:1-16).
While I would never have wished this virus upon my worst enemy, even as I’m praying for it to be completely eradicated from the face of the earth, I have seen God work in our lives in ways that would not have been possible on our own.
In many ways, that reminder is what Christmas is all about. Normal, ordinary people living their lives, minding their business, in good times and bad. Then God shows up to do the impossible. Why? So that nobody but God gets the glory.
The whole Christmas story is full of people just like that. Joseph. Mary. Shepherds. Wise Men. And an entire cast of other characters. All minding their own business until God shows up with plans of His own. The only requirement is to surrender themselves as instruments in the hands of God. When that occurs, God “shows off” by using them to do the impossible so that the only logical explanation is God.
In more ways than I could possibly recount in these few paragraphs, that’s exactly what God did at Charleston Southern this year. He used faculty, staff, students, and parents of our students to do what only He could do.
For reasons I have never been able to explain, God chooses to use us to accomplish His purposes. He did that in 2020 on our campus by inspiring students to keep going even when they wanted to quit. He did it by giving faculty and staff boosts of energy and enthusiasm when they needed it the most. He did it through praying parents who asked God to make the most of this crazy year so their children could make progress toward their degrees—while learning a boatload of life lessons along the way.
He did it by reminding us of what Mary heard when she wondered if God’s unreasonable plan could actually happen: “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).
We did it by responding like Mary in the face of uncertainty and doubt: “’I am the Lord’s servant….May it be to me as you have said’” (Luke 1:38).
That’s why Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Not because of the gifts we give or the ones we receive. But because we can’t help but be reminded that nothing God wants to do through us is impossible if we let Him use us as He sees fit. By my count, we have one more semester in COVID World. That’s one more semester of demonstrating to the world that there is no need to fear if you’re a Buccaneer. By God’s strength, I have one more semester in me. Here’s hoping that the rest of Buc Nation does too. Better yet, here’s praying that Mary’s words remain yours, mine, and ours until we get to the other side: “I am the Lord’s servant….May it be to me as you have said.”