I hope that everyone had an enjoyable holiday, but I must admit that it did not seem like a normal Christmas. Yes, we sent out cards and decorated the tree, but there was something strange about the atmosphere. The signs of the virus are everywhere, and I cannot help but think about how many families have been impacted by it. Some of you may have missed seeing your loved ones because it was not safe for them to travel. My wife and I know how you feel. Others of you might have canceled your festivities altogether and there is nothing wrong with being safe and wise. For those of you who are regular readers, I just want to say how sorry I am for what you have gone through this past year.

When the virus came on the scene, it seemed like a science fiction movie or a crisis that was very far away. As the months went by, it kept spreading until it was affecting people in our state and eventually in our own town. I’m sure by now that many of you have been tested and some have struggled through the sickness and hopefully have recovered. In February and March, I was struck down with pneumonia and it really took a toll on me. I tested negative for covid but nearly ended up in the hospital as I was extremely sick for several weeks. We have close friends who are currently terribly ill and sadly some have recently passed away. A genuinely nice man I worked with for many years passed away right before Thanksgiving. He had just retired last year. My heart breaks for those who would still be with us today if it had not been for this cruel enemy. For those of you who have suffered loss, may the Lord continue to give you His peace and comfort.

We are also seeing how the pandemic has negatively impacted the economy in many areas. I noticed in my fundraising for our annual Thanksgiving food drive for the needy, many small businesses which normally are happy to donate just did not have the extra funds this year. I completely understand. Some companies are even going out of business and just the other day one of the newspapers that has used my column for several years closed because of Covid. The Del Rio News-Herald began operating in 1884. Let us keep praying for those who need a miracle as we continue pressing forward in God’s wisdom and trusting in His promises.

With such a perplexing year, we should have known the election was also not going to be normal. I will not get into all the opinions and speculations, but I will say that even if a percentage of the allegations are true, the government needs to investigate to make sure our elections are fair and honest in the future. It does not matter which party you support, let us continue to pray that deception will be exposed. I do not believe anyone would be pleased knowing that our elections are being tampered with. Jesus says in Luke 4:22, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light.” To the followers of Christ, whoever is declared the president, we still have a mission to accomplish and must stay focused on God.

As we say goodbye to one of the most bizarre years that I can remember, I want to thank all of you for making “Living on purpose” a regular part of your newspaper experience whether reading the hard copy or online. Publishers and editors have been very gracious to allow me the space to share my heart and I really appreciate the encouraging prayers, letters, and emails. I wish all of you an incredibly happy New Year and hopefully we can agree that surely it will be better than what we have just gone through. I’m looking forward to spring when the flowers begin to bloom, and to feel the warmth of the sun on my face. Personally, I believe a spiritual awakening is beginning and that God is preparing to revive His people for His glory! Prayer and repentance is always the spark that ignites powerful moves of God. Be encouraged today and ask Him to fill you with His love, hope, and excitement. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family as we travel this amazing journey together.

Dr. Holland is a Christian minister, author, and community outreach chaplain. To read more articles and stories or to request a free copy of his new CD at: billyhollandministries.com

Ask for a free copy of the scripture CD, “keeper of my Soul” and learn about Billy’s brand-new book, “Convictions and considerations – Encouragement for the Soul” at: billyhollandministries.com