This year certainly ranks right up there as the strangest year I have ever experienced. For many, it has also been the most difficult.

COVID-19 certainly caught us by surprise and found us ill prepared to deal with something so extensive and deadly. As a result, our lives and society look quite different as we end this year.

Rather than bringing us together to fight it in cooperation, it has driven us further apart. It has become one more political flash point.

And, we just completed an election that a large number of Americans feel is invalid, further dividing us.

We hardly listen to anyone with a differing point of view any more. More often than not, we dismiss them as ignorant, brainwashed, or other less printable names.

There are many who are saying that 2020 can’t end soon enough – we need a new start.

But COVID is unlikely to go away at midnight on December 31. And, it’s doubtful we’ll wake up on January 1 any less divided than we are now.

What’s so disheartening to me is that so many Christians have gotten caught up in all this. There are so many projecting hate in the name of Religious Liberty, religious causes, and even in the name of Jesus. It’s no wonder non Christians find Christianity so unattractive.

The truth is, we do need a new start. But, it needs to be more than just the change of the year from 2020 to 2021.

We need a renewed focus on Jesus.

We need to deliberately be looking away from the faulty human leaders we have been lifting up (in both parties) and turn our focus back to Jesus.

We need to focus on His life. We need to hear His words again and re-engage with His teachings. We need to follow His instructions.

We need to approach each other with the same compassionate, self-sacrificing love that Jesus demonstrated. He did command this, you know (see John 13:33-35).

We need to understand that Jesus has not called us to stand up for our rights, but to be willing to give up our rights in order to serve and glorify Him (see Luke 14:25-33)

We as Christians need to stop being part of the problem because Jesus has called us to be part of the solution.

We can grow into islands of peace and love as we allow Jesus to live in us.

We can be havens of safety for those who are hurting and confused.

We can become a path for people to use to find Jesus for themselves as we extend His invitation to them (see Matthew 11:28-30).

This world, our country, and our communities need more of Jesus than anything else.

Jesus wants to use you as His hands, His feet, and His mouth – to share the Good News of His compassionate, self-sacrificing love with those He brings you in contact with. People like family, schoolmates, those you work with, your neighbors, and random folk you meet during your day.

Let’s start this today! You and me, deliberately focusing on Jesus and saying yes as He leads us.

What do you say?