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With less than a month left to 2020, most of us are more than ready to say “good riddance” to this year and welcome 2021. Given how nuts 2020 has been, I want to turn an eye to next year.

First and foremost, I am looking forward to the day when this pandemic is officially over. Whether it be through a vaccine or by God’s own hand, we will have many reasons to celebrate. In my family, we have already decided we are going to have a huge party, our little house being hardly able to accommodate everyone be darned, when that day comes. Food, games, and company will highlight that special occasion, and it may for many other people as well.

In reflecting on the last several months of social isolation, I am reminded that God does not let things happen without a reason. In my heart, I have come to believe that God is teaching all of us something, even though that “something” may be very different from person to person.  Once we can return to our life before the pandemic, may we not forget the lessons that God has taught each of us.

I look forward to the day where we can be with our loved ones—aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, brothers, sisters, parents, friends—at the dinner table, eating a meal together.  I look forward to the days we can have heart-to-heart conversations with each other again.

As someone who has many family members in the healthcare world, serving on the frontlines of this pandemic, I look forward to the day where our medical professionals are not being stretched as thin as they are right now.  I will rejoice with and for them when they do not return to their families burnt out after doing a mandatory 60-to-70-plus-hour week for months on end without respite.

I am looking forward, with great hope, to when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. I truly hope that the vaccines are as effective as their makers, Pfizer and Moderna, claim they are.  They are not going to be perfect, but I am still going to be sure to get in line for it, knowing I may get some degree of protection.

In 2021, the thought of returning to school seems like a real possibility.  After having spent the last nine months locked down, it feels like a foreign thought, as many have settled into a new “normal.” For those who are out of college, returning to the office, working alongside their coworkers may feel weird after working remotely for months.

What excites many, including me, is the prospect that we will be able to return to some form of our normal lives. What it will look like after this pandemic is over, only time will tell.

Most importantly, whatever lessons God has been teaching each of us during this time of trial, I pray we will never forget them.  I also pray that we learn to take nothing for granted ever again.