On Friday, I will do what I do every year on New Year’s Day. I will eat a large serving of black-eyed peas while I watch football games on TV.
I am a southerner and superstitious. Accordingly, I firmly believe that beginning a New Year with a bowl of black-eyed peas can bring good luck. And do we need a large serving of luck in 2021!
My wife has a wonderful recipe for a New Year black-eyed pea salad, or as some folks call it, Hoppin’ John. She mixes black-eyed peas with red onions, celery, parsley, carrots, and like Colonel Sanders, she has some secret sauces she will not divulge. She adds ham and rice, and faster than you can sing Auld Lang Syne, you have the perfect cuisine for a new year.
But this year, I am going to add one more ingredient to the Haltom Hoppin’ John. I am going to serve it with a large portion of hope.
As we bid a not-so-fond farewell to 2020, we need to start 2021 with a heaping helping of hope … hope that in the coming year we will literally all be together again, first as we line up for vaccines, and then when (please God) the pandemic has passed, and we will be together again at family reunions, church services, cook-outs, picnics, ballgames, concerts, and plays. We will gather at restaurants, and bars and coffee houses, and we will sit close together.
Yogi Berra once said of a Manhattan restaurant, “It’s so crowded no one goes there anymore.” But I am hoping that in 2021 there will be many such gathering places that will all be so crowded, we will all want to go there.
I am hoping also that sometime during 2021, I will be able to take off my mask and start hugging people again. I miss hugs.
I am not a minister, and I don’t play one on the Christian Broadcasting Network, but I did grow up a PK (preacher’s kid), and my father taught me a lot of scripture.
As we begin 2021, I will remember one of my father’s favorite verses. It is found in Romans 5:3-5. Apostle Paul wrote that difficult times or tribulations produce endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.
2020 was a year of tribulation for many of us. Some of us lost dear loved ones and friends. Some of us literally fought for our lives. Almost all of us were separated from loved ones and friends, and many of us experienced isolation and loneliness. But as Paul reassured the Romans, we can endure such tribulations. When we do, we become stronger in character. And in character we find a gift that never disappoints us, the gift of hope.
And so as we begin a near year, let’s embrace hope. Let’s have a bowl of it, and then ask for seconds!
A happy and hope-filled New Year to us all! Now if you will excuse me, I am going into our kitchen to help my wife prepare the Haltom Hoppin’ John.