Like many other people across the planet, I've had my ups and downs this year amid the COVID-19 crisis.
A natural quasi-hermit, I had no issue remaining inside my home under lock and key. After all, being under semi-lockdown was my normal state of existence.
However, I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that there were times where I wished things were back to "normal," whatever "normal" might have been for that particular instance: Sitting on a jammed beach blanket watching fireworks on the Fourth of July as the salt and sand played havoc with my hair, which sports more silver stripes this year than ever before; standing in a snaking Starbucks line patiently waiting for my highly anticipated first pumpkin spice latte of the season; queuing up in a long line to take an overcrowded trolley through a wonderland of Christmas lights on a cold night, with my children's mittened hands securely fastened in my own.
These were a few of my favorite things, and I missed them, but that didn't mean that there weren't other events that would take precedence over my personal comforts and joys.
Pestilence, political division, police brutality, and even more marked 2020 with an indelible stain of human desperation.
Though media, politicians, activists, entertainers, and armchair warriors were louder than perhaps ever before, the world, this year, seemed quieter — and more divided — than it's ever been.
And then came the Great Conjunction.
The Great Conjunction. What a thing to happen this year of all years, right? The alignment of Saturn and Jupiter, appearing as one bright, shining star just days before Christmas — it was too good to be a coincidence, too planned to be serendipity. The Great Conjunction was more kismet than anything else. For many if not all believers, the Great Conjunction was the very Christmas star that appeared more than 2,000 years ago with Jesus' birth.
"Conjunction" by its very definition is a word to connect clauses or sentences — and what greater a phrase to describe what Jesus Christ himself did for his creation, time and time again: to connect us to our Heavenly Father by coming to Earth and eventually becoming the ultimate sacrifice.
The Great Conjunction in 2020 was more than just a celestial anomaly — it was a message of Jesus's unfailing, unflinching promise that He is here, and He will come no matter how ugly humankind's ugly gets. And it has doubtless gotten very ugly this year.
The Great Conjunction was Jesus' eternal message that He will always show up, wherever we are and throughout whatever has happened.
More than 2,000 years ago, Jesus showed up when the world needed him most.
"After listening to the king, [the wise men] went on their way," Matthew 2:9-11 says. "And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh."
Time and time again, the promise remains the same: Jesus shows up — and while many of us sat around pondering the fate of the world this year, Jesus showed up more than ever. We simply needed to take a pause and look up to the skies to remember whose we are and whose world this really is.
Merry Christmas and the happiest of new years to come.