It was a cold end to 2022; we must have hope in 2023

Published 12:19 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2022

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The final page is turning on 2022. Looking back, it’s been another difficult year, even through there were glimmers of hope poking through.
COVID is still with us as is the flu. COVID has claimed more than 800,000 lives in the United States, and we live with the realization that it may always be with us just as cold and flu season visit us annually. While progress was made, thanks to a COVID-19 vaccine and the 60 percent of Americans who obtained it, the public health crisis is still with us.
America remains visibly divided in many ways, more so that it has been in decades. We still live with the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the capital and the outcome of the congressional investigation still awaits us. Many have already been tried and sentenced for their part in the insurrection.
Mother Nature also made itself felt again this year. Fires, storms and floods continued to hit hard. There are still images of the destruction of the hurricane this summer on the Florida coastline, and just this week the brutal cold in Northeast Tennessee. Luckily, we did not have the blizzard and the snow that Buffalo, N.Y., is experiencing.
We can’t do much to avert the national disasters. Mother Nature dishes them out year after year. All we can do is to try to weather the storms and lend a hand as best we can to those hit so hard.
A very special thanks to Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, which opened its doors as a warming shelter to those in the community during this weekend’s bitter cold. That is what church is all about — helping and loving those in need and sharing the Gospel with the spiritually needy.
As the yearend approaches, we can all take positive steps to help those in need and to span the divides that have opened up among Americans between political rivals, racial groups, and even between family members.
It’s easy to find ways to disagree with one another. Many so-called “leaders” prefer that we focus on the labels they slap on others — liberal, conservative and all of the others — instead of paying attention to their actions. Stoking the fires of differences between us allow these “leaders” to benefit themselves while everyone else is arguing.
We can do better. We must. So let us resolve to make 2023 a year of working together toward the benefit of all. Let us look at the needs in our community and resolve to do something about them — to ease the pain of the hurting, the lonely, the hungry, and those who are needy.
Even though the pandemic continues to raise obstacles, plenty of opportunities remain where people can help one another.
Here’s a good way to start:
Find a place to volunteer. If you can’t volunteer, consider making a donation. Even a little bit can help.
Check with local churches to see whether they have outreach programs in place to ensure all members hear a friendly voice regularly. If such a program doesn’t exist, consider starting one. It’s our responsibility to help the hurting.
Instead of complaining about what we can’t do, arguing about some political issue or pointing fingers of blame at everyone except ourselves, take a step back and search for ways to work together.
By helping each other, we will have a chance to heal from those things that ail us.
We can create a better community in 2023, but to do so, we must work together.

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