Select Page

2020—What a Beautiful Time to Be Alive

by | Dec 14, 2020 | Ponderings | 0 comments

For the sake of those living on the North Pole or the International Space Station and who had their internet disconnected for the last 9 months, let me catch you up some current events:

2020 has been a bit of a rough patch.

For the rest of us, I suspect, we need no such updates. We’re living it. Most life-shaping crises unfold on the personal and local levels; occasional developments afflict entire nations. Very rarely does the entire population of planet earth struggle together. This was one of those rare years.

But my thoughts were caught short by encountering a tweet—a consummate expression of morose gloom.

“2020—what a stupid time to be alive.”

You could be forgiven for wondering if Puddleglum discovered Twitter.1 The salient reality is that this is not an isolated sentiment. You’ve read similar comments in other places; you’ve probably even been tempted to think it.2

And against all such sentiments, I am desperate to affirm that I am exuberantly grateful to be alive in 2020. Not because my 2020 has floated by on clouds of endless ease and bliss. We were away from church for 8 months; even until now, my entire “professional” and ministry life is lived through a Zoom screen. Like all of us, I’ve had my “those kind of days” in 2020. I’m also sure that not all of them are safely in the past.

But on the contrary, I want my view of life to rest on deeper footings than my passing emotional state or the bobbing fortunes of my life circumstances. A year-long study of Ecclesiastes drilled my life philosophy deep into the bedrock of biblical wisdom. Life is a gift. Seeing the light of the sun is a privilege. Every day is precious.

I think this when I take my daily run, complete with sopping face mask drooping around my chin. It’s the thrill of muscles stretching, my body screaming for me to stop while my brain orders the machine to go faster, driving hard to the end, can’t stop, won’t stop, and then the rushing energy of being finished; heart pounding; another mile survived. I’m alive. Really, really alive.

I think this when my two-year old daughter careens into the room like a baby gazelle that just found its legs yesterday and is still working out the details. Life is too busy and frantic to merely walk. Always running, curls ever-bouncing, urgency etched into her face, though generally undecided from moment to moment what exactly the mission is or what must be done about it. And the laugh. A laugh like gold, like music, like a cold refreshment on a hot day all wrapped into one and filling my house and me with joy. I’m alive. Really, really happy to be alive.

I think this in the morning when I pray; the same prayers every day and the same people communing—just me and God. But because He’s infinite and I’m not, the time is never enough nor my heart ever sufficiently reoriented to His glorious beauty. And then I read His words. Passages I’ve read a hundred times before and thought I understood. But daily the richness opens up in new, surprising, overwhelming ways. I’m alive. Growing, struggling, learning and grateful for another day to be alive.

Don’t let bad thinking take this year from you. Don’t grit your teeth and just try to get through. Life is too precious for that and entirely too short. Live this year as you ought to live every other. Be wise. Love life. Fear God and keep His commandments. Seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Finish 2020 grateful for every day God gave you.


2020—what a beautiful time to be alive.


  1. The author of the tweet is a senior staffer at Christianity Today.
  2. Recognize that quarantines can be very different across the world.

Photo credit—

Joel Arnold

Teacher, Missionary, Writer

Joel Arnold, PhD, is a Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis no.