Well, 2020. What a year it’s turned out to be.
With ‘lockdowns’, restrictions on what we’ve been able to do, where and with whom, lots of people finding themselves without work, and many people sadly losing loved ones, it’s been a difficult year for many, and one in which we have all faced some kind of challenge.
For some it’s been a time to re-evaluate, be it life in general, work, hobbies or whatever other area. For some it has seen eras come to an end. For others it has been a time of new beginnings. For many there has been, and continues to be, great uncertainty about what the future holds.
One positive thing I’ve seen in recent months has been the will to help and support others. Whether the challenges brought about by coronavirus have led to an increased desire to help and support, or its outworking has just been more public and apparent, it’s been heartwarming to see people stepping up to lend a hand and help make things just a little bit easy in these tricky times.
As we head towards the Christmas season, without a lot of the traditional celebrations that usually fill the run-up to December 25, it feels to me that this could be a good place to focus our attentions this year. With so many of the things that can easily distract us at Christmas stripped away this year comes the opportunity to fill that space, that time, with a renewed focus on other people. How we can help. How we can support. How we can work together to spread some Christmas cheer in the midst of a difficult year.
It’s clear to me that by helping and supporting one another we can achieve more and be better off. After all, the first Christmas was all about the gift of a child who would go on to give people what they could never have achieved on their own.
So I’ve decided to see what I can do to help and support others in the coming weeks through this page. It’s been a bit quiet here in recent months for various reasons but as I won’t be getting out much this month, it seems a good opportunity to get a bit more active again (when I’m not tied up trying to stop the baby slamming her fingers in drawers or stick them in plug sockets!).
I’ve got three things happening so far:
Firstly, I’ve just launched a month-long sale on copies of my book sold through my website. Maybe it’s lockdown going to my head that’s made me take £5 off the cover price and offer it to you for a ridiculous £1.99 until December 6. But I like to think it’s to make it more accessible to people who have time on their hands to read but maybe less money in their pockets to buy books. (On a side note, I’ve had a little re-evaluation of my own in recent weeks and I’ll be making some changes to how I do things soon, so this may also be your last chance to buy a book directly from this website!)
My second mini project is about helping small businesses. With everything that’s been happening this year, many businesses have faced difficulties, and many small, independent businesses need our support more than ever. Early next week I’ll be putting together a blog post to help give some exposure to small, independent businesses. It might give some inspiration to readers who are looking to do some Christmas shopping online and support real people, rather than big corporations, along the way. Click here to find out how you can get involved and help increase the chances of independent businesses doing the I-made-a-sale happy dance.
Thirdly, I’m planning something a bit different this Advent to encourage us all to spread a little bit of Christmas cheer. When I say ‘planning’, I mean it’s an idea that came into my head while I was writing this blog and which I’ve included so I can’t get out of doing it. It’s possible I may kick myself for this later. But, in short, it involves random acts of kindness, so I’ve so far come up with a name – Random Advent of Kindness. All I have to do now is come up with 24 random acts of kindness that everyone can have the chance to join in with. No pressure then! Watch this space for more details.
There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a year we’ll remember for a long time, as well as one that I’m sure many would rather forget. But there’s also no doubt that, by showing a bit of love, kindness and support, we can each help to make a trying year just a little but easier for someone else. We might not change the world but if we can have a hand in changing one person’s bad day we’ll be doing okay.
I’ll leave you with the words of Philippians chapter 4, verses 6-7 in the Bible, which remind me, in times of uncertainty, that, however outside of my control life seems, I don’t need to worry. They say, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Sarah Moore is the author of For the Love of Lentil, A journey of longing, loss and abundant grace, which tells the story of her experience of pregnancy and miscarriage. Copies of the book are available here.