And as news of Covid mutating spread, countries closing borders, ours banning flights, curfews implemented, fear gripped my heart, and with timid steps, I passed the sentry at the gate of time into the New Year! “What’s with the slow walk Bob?” he called out genially, ’twas one with bounce and vivere that crossed into 2020!”

“But see what happened!” I whispered, “Covid-19 came and took the bounce away! Spoilt our plans and brought destruction!”

The sentry at the gate of time, beckoned me to sit awhile with him, “Since you’re in no hurry to enter the New Year, you might as well keep me company,” he said pleasantly, “Look at all the people! Never seen a more sorrowful world entering a new year! No drums, no burning the Old Man! Just the dragging of reluctant feet! Even the Watchnight Service was everybody watching out for a telltale sneeze or cough!”

“I wish I could go back!” I sighed wearily.

“Where?” asked the sentry at the gate of time.

“To 2019, or any of the years before!”

The sentry of the gate of time, hooked the gate open and came and sat next to me, “Can’t imagine you saying that Bob!” he said.

“Why not!” I cried out, “Just look at all the gloom and sadness, walking by!”

“A gloom, you shouldn’t be having!” said the sentry severely, “When you walked in last year, you walked in with joy and hope!”

“Yes!” I said dully.

“Have you forgotten why?”

“Why?” I asked again, dully.

“Because of Him who walked with you into the New Year! You were talking, and smiling, and all excited as you told Him all your plans, and do you know what I loved best?”

“What?” I asked.

“That all along He was holding your hand, even as you jumped and sprang about!”

“But it was a bad year!” I said.

“Was it?” asked the sentry, “When the virus crept outside your doors, He held you safe, when others were petrified, He gave you reason to be brave. When others were scared to die, He told you of those mansions He had prepared for you! He stood by you, when everyone else was afraid, and you were not alone!”

“Yes, yes,” I said eagerly.

“And there He is beside you again, just waiting for you to hold His hand and enter the new year,” said the sentry, “but all you want to do is to rub those same hands together in fear! Come on, take the hand of the Lord Bob, as I can see Him offering it to you, and walk in bantering, laughing, chuckling and telling Him your silly jokes like you did last year!”

I did..!

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