Arise, shine, for your light has come.

These words, culled from the Bible, are exceedingly appropriate as we launch ourselves into 2021. We find this verse in Chapter 60, Verse 1, of the book of Isaiah. The entire verse reads, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”

I find this verse particularly inspiring these days. Consider all the struggles and loss experienced by everybody worldwide in 2020. Even in the event that you, your family and friends may not have lost a job or grieved over the loss of a loved one to the virus, nobody was untouched by the pandemic.

We all had to stay at home. We were, and continue to be, admonished to wear a mask. Schools, restaurants and bars, nail salons, beauty shops and barber shops were closed and every social event on our calendars was canceled. We couldn’t go to church. We couldn’t have choirs anymore. The effects of the pandemic are so far-reaching, it is sometimes difficult to fully comprehend.

Speaking of light

When Jesus came to live among us, the world went from darkness to light. Jesus is the light of the world. There is a well known children’s song, “This Little Light of Mine.” The song goes, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” That is a wonderful message because it means that we do not hide our light. Doing so would mean not being who we are.

However, the pandemic has been a colossal game changer. I am not at all sure I would feel like letting my light shine if I had lost my job or watched a loved one suffer and die from COVID-19. I am not so sure I would feel like letting my light shine if I was worried about my grandchildren not being able to go to school, or if I was concerned about a relative who is a teacher and worried they might come down with the dreaded virus.

A colossal game changer

Zoom meetings, online education, buying a car from a “vending machine” and working from home are all examples of the ongoing changes made necessary by the dreaded pandemic.

The pandemic has made it impossible to conduct business meetings in person. Attorneys could no longer conduct consultations, mediations and depositions in person. Consequently, Zoom meetings have become increasingly common. My son works for Zoom and he is busy all the time. Zoom meetings, even post pandemic, are not likely to ever become a thing of the past.

As for online learning, virtual curriculum will grow. However, that will never be a permanent replacement for in-class learning. Students, at every age and stage, need social interaction. Routine in-person contacts facilitate social and emotional development that is impossible to sustain through online learning.

As for working from home, I know people who are currently working from home who may well continue doing so post pandemic. The inherent issue that has developed for the many Americans working from home is loneliness. Mental health is an emerging global challenge. A readily available remedy for that is virtual meetings. Not only are businesses conducting virtual meetings these days, families and friends are conducting virtual meetings as a way to stay connected. These days that is more crucial than ever.

There is hope

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” That light, of course, is Jesus. There is hope. If you specifically apply this ideation to the pandemic, you realize there is light. Although it sometimes seems as though the pandemic will never leave us, one day it certainly will come to an end.

As you begin 2021, keep in mind that your light has come. As you go through you daily life, remember that we can be a light to others, especially during this pandemic when so many people are hurting.

In 2021, come what may, there is hope. Do not forget Isaiah 60:1. Your light has come.

Native Roman Pam Walker is a paralegal, a writer, an avid cyclist, history enthusiast, and ardent reader of Southern fiction. She is the author of a new book, “Write Now.” Readers may email her at pamterrellwalker@gmail.com.

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