ADVENT DEVOTION: Thursday, December 17, 2020

Published December 17, 2020 by SMBC

Finding Sanctuary in 2020
By Doug Durand

Looking back, I should have guessed that 2020 was going to be a challenging year. Even before the calendar turned, I went in for what I expected to be simple physical therapy and left with the words ?hip replacement? swirling in my head. At the ensuing doctor's visit I was told that my running days were over and I ?should find a new hobby.? I decided instead to find a new doctor?but the prognosis didn't change. I have been a ?runner? since my first half-mile race on Field Day in 6th grade. For me it was Sanctuary, a time to clear my head and reset. I have trouble sitting still and am at least a little on the ?compulsive? side, as most engineers are, so running was a perfect fit for me.

What I didn't fully realize until the quarantine, another significant source of Sanctuary for me stems from my spiritual gift - acts of service. Angie and I joined South Main as an engaged couple in 1989 and have been serving ever since. We've visited homebound members, taught children's choir, gone on youth mission trips, served on committees and the Broadcast ministry, and were community leaders of the Nearly/Newlywed class and now the Grace Sunday School class. Serving has always been a tremendous blessing and constant in our lives. When the pandemic hit, the transition to quarantine life was easy for me being an introvert, but over time being separated from South Main and the Sanctuary of service began to take its toll, especially as 2020 unraveled as it did.

Being unable to run or to serve at church, the stress of the pandemic, racial strife, and the presidential election started to wear on me. Idle time exacerbated the strain as I fell victim to the insidious trap of social media and network ?news.? For the first time ever, I even put political signs in the yard?which of course didn't help! I was feeling frustrated and increasingly polarized. The only modicum of Sanctuary came from watching the online worship service (thanks, Broadcast team!) and participating in bible study over Zoom. Ultimately, I chose to spend my time in more positive pursuits, and it made quite a difference.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, I pray that some of the items on my personal list below may help you find Sanctuary in these difficult times:

Check on an elderly neighbor frequently.
Help a neighbor or friend in need, even if they don't ask for it.
Be charitable, both relationally and financially.
Sit on a pier on Galveston Bay, relax, and pray.
Do something with your hands - fix something, clean something, etc.
Limit the amount of news and social media you consume. None is an option.
If you post on social media, be kind. ?Nuff said.
Go for a walk or even a run?that's why I got the new hip anyway!

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. -Hebrews 12:1?2