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“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

--- Eleanor Roosevelt

“Nothing will be impossible with God.”

--- Gabriel (Luke 1:37)

Dear Friends,

Twenty-one years ago, my wife and I came down from Michigan to visit her grandmother in Bradenton over New Years. That year, 1999, was fraught with anxiety over concerns about “Y2K,” that computer systems worldwide would supposedly fail as the year rolled over from 1999 to 2000. We stayed up late, sitting on a beach by Sarasota Bay, watching and waiting to see if all the lights in downtown Sarasota would go off at midnight. They didn’t even blink.

Y2K was nothing compared to 2020. The year that TIME magazine called the “Worst Year Ever” was just that for many of us. We were all inconvenienced and challenged to some degree, but some of us lost jobs, some lost loved ones, some even lost our sense of optimism. After a year like this one, how can we be hopeful and not seem completely naïve?

When I was 4, I watched on a tiny black and white tv screen as a man walked on the moon. It was easy then to imagine a future filled with wonderful things. Will we discover how to prolong life, to cure disease, to alleviate starvation and suffering around the world? Will we begin to better understand one another, to bring cultures and races together, to find peace in our time? If we can still ask those questions, then the world has not yet chipped away all our dreams.

So thank God for New Years, new beginnings, and a chance to imagine a better world. We will not forget its real dangers, but we will also remember the real healing we have seen and remember God is with us. Though our losses and scars remain, when the clock rolls over and the lights stay on, we will move forward. And there we’ll be, in 2021… dreaming a future of new possibilities.


Pastor Scott Lindner

Atonement Lutheran Church

Wesley Chapel, Florida

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