December 9, 2021

2021 has been an extremely challenging and trying year. Let’s briefly look back over our year.

A Look Back

The COVID-19 virus infections reached staggering levels in countries around the globe, while waning in others; and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) informed Americans the Delta variant created a new threat. If you are not fully vaccinated, continue to do the 3 W’s: Wear a mask, Wash your hands and Watch your distance.

On June 24, 2021 at 1:25 a.m. EST, half of the Miami- area Champlain Towers South, once a 12-story condominium in Surfside, FL, collapsed killing 98 people. The collapse was a horrifying tragedy that devastated families and loved ones and nearly a dozen countries reported casualties in the Champlain Towers collapse.

On August 29, Category 4 Hurricane Ida rumbled her way onshore in Louisiana, 16 years to the day that Hurricane Katrina made its landfall. Catastrophe, disaster, flooding and more than one million residents were without power for weeks. Next, Hurricane Ida roared her way north to New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania slamming these northeastern states with rains and flooding.

Then, on September 11, America remembered the 20th anniversary lethal attack on American soil by 19 terrorists who hijacked and then turned commercial passenger airplanes into missiles. America remembered the 2,977 people who were killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack and thousands more who were injured. Our prayers continue for the families, first responders and survivors of the 911 attack.

Indeed, we experienced some challenging times in 2021. There were seasons of grief and sorrow. But even in the midst of trying times and often heart-wrenching difficulties, remember God is our refuge, a very present help in trouble. (See Psalm 46:1.) Draw on your faith during difficult times as your faith will sustain you and get you through trying times. During 2021, there were also seasons of joy. We will have trials in life, but as Christians we have peace and joy regardless of what our circumstances are. So, meditate on the joy of the Lord as it is your strength. (See John 16:33, Nehemiah 8:10.)

As the year draws to a close, let’s take a momentary look at the most popular article that ran in this column in 2021. In February this column saluted Milwaukee African American Trailblazers. African Americans are involved in civil rights, politics, journalism, religion, land resources, public service, culinary arts, medicine, academia, law, science, engineering, economics, music, arts, etc. While African Americans are deeply entrenched in the history of our country, often they don’t get the recognition they deserve. We saluted our trailblazers. Their service is so appreciated!!

A Look Forward

Now, as we look forward to a new year, we have no idea what 2022 will look like or even what 2022 will hold for the coronavirus pandemic. We don’t even know what new situations we will go through or what God has planned for us in 2022. We do know that Jeremiah 29:11 says: “For I know the plan I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Therefore, as we end another year and move into 2022, let us all be continually thankful to God for family and friends, love, joy, peace, mercy, and grace. Check in with loved ones near and far, the elderly, take care of yourself, your mental health, and each other. Hug your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, be kind to others and please pray for others and for our country.

As in years past, this column will take a break for the rest of December. On behalf of the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper, its publisher and Staff, we are wishing all of you and yours a blessed Holiday Season and a very safe, healthy, prosperous and peaceful New Year. I’ll see you in January 2022!

God’s blessings to all, Rev. Judith T. Lester

General Disclaimer: The writer has used her best efforts in preparation of this information. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered. Neither the publisher nor the writer shall be liable in any way for readers’ efforts to apply, rely or utilize the information or recommendations presented herein as they may not be suitable for you or necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. This information is for educational purposes. In some instances, this article contains the opinions, conclusions and/or recommendations of the writer. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.