I can hardly believe that in just a few weeks, we’ll whip out new calendars and 2022 will commence.

Should we tighten our seatbelts and prepare for this rocky ride to continue, or might we finally get off this roller coaster of fear, oppression, lawlessness, outrage and division?

In many ways, 2020 and 2021 are years most of us would like to forget. But I recently read something written by pastor Andy Stanley that has given me a more hopeful way not only to do 2022, but also to view the difficult couple of years we’ve just endured.

Stanley wrote about his conversation with a man in his late 80s who had lived through many difficult times and yet was still very much enchanted with life.

“I learned a long time ago not to see the world through the printed headlines,” the elderly gentleman said. “I see the world through the people that surround me. I see the world with the realization that we love big. Therefore, I just choose to write my own headlines: ‘Husband loves wife today … family drops everything to come to grandma’s bedside … old man makes new friend.’”

Stanley said the man’s words collided with his worries, freed him from those anxious thoughts, renewed his spirit and challenged him to also write his own headlines — a challenge I’m taking to heart.

So, what would some of my headlines be for this past year?

“God blesses me with eighth precious grandchild … grandbaby number nine is on the way … no surgeries in 2021 … tornado miraculously hops over my house … God faithfully meets all our needs.

“My husband and I get Covid but have no lasting effects … God blesses our sons and their families … God opens door to do podcast … I make some wonderful new friends.”

There are so many happy and hopeful headlines I could write about these past two years, even though this stretch of time may one day be looked upon as among the darkest our nation has faced.

As a journalist, I’ve been writing headlines for a long time and I know that summarizing an article in a few pithy words can be challenging. But when it comes to writing headlines about God’s faithfulness and blessings, well, that’s easy. When I take the time to look, His gracious gifts abound.

The 1863 proclamation establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday included the following wonderful passage: “... The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”

Written in a year when our nation was torn asunder by civil war, that proclamation was probably, for many, like a breath of fresh, holy air. It still is, as it reminds us to remember God and look at all He has given us.

When headlines threaten to steal our peace, joy and hope, let’s remember we have the power to write our own. So does God, and His are the very best, expressed in the pages of the Bible.

Here’s one from among the thousands of golden headlines there: “Every good thing and perfect gift comes from God” (see James 1:17).

Let’s keep our hearts soft and choose to focus, as we’re instructed in Philippians 4:8, on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, excellent and worthy of praise.

Those things are there, if we’ll look, just waiting for us to make headlines out of them.

Mary Ann Crum (maryanncrum.com) lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, “A Giggle Goes a Long Way” and “Live.Learn.Laugh!” She can be reached at maryanncrum@gmail.com.

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