When it comes to our attitude towards the year of our Lord two-thousand, twenty, few of us would opt to apply the sentiment of the classic Bon Jovi song “Never Say Goodbye.” We’re ready to say “good riddance” and move on to brighter, greener days.

But, perhaps, while we say goodbye to 2020, we don’t completely cut the ties. Perhaps there is something about this year-of-all-years that is worth holding onto.

The Apostle James tells us in chapter 1 of his book, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I don’t know about you, but the idea of being “mature and compete, not lacking anything” perks my interest. If that could be me! But, for that to happen, I must let perseverance finish its work, and perseverance only comes from facing trials of many kinds.

So, I suppose, my point is: Let’s not be too quick to bury 2020 in the dark corners of our minds, stored away like that ugly Christmas serving tray we got from Aunt Betty back in 1997. Instead, as we move forward, let’s hold onto the lessons of what God has taught us about our own perseverance and maturity over the past twelve months.

What has God taught you through the trials of 2020? What is it he may be still trying to teach you? Did you respond to trials well or poorly? What can this teach you about how to anticipate your response to future trials (spoiler alert, they’ll be coming)?

Say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021, but when it comes to the valuable lessons God is teaching us in his lifelong process of maturing us, never say goodbye to those. Hold onto them. Cherish them. Use them.