No other year in recent memory has been more defined by the gap between expectation and reality. In the wreckage of 2020 are plans disrupted, dreams deferred, and countless lives irrevocably changed.

We wanted a kind of time capsule that would show what 2020 felt like for Christians on the ground. Although we could not travel, the pandemic experience has been both isolating and communal. Amid all the loneliness, we have shared a collective experience. What believers endured in one city is much the same as what they endured in another.

CT asked photographer Jeremy Cowart to capture pieces of that experience at his studio in Nashville. What we received are stories of loss and gain, suffering and joy, struggle and hope—and beneath it all, a sense of the presence of God and the work of Christ among us.

“One of the beautiful things about this difficult season is how it has made me appreciate the relationships in my life more. I’ve actually grown closer to some of my extended family and friends. Often that interaction was merely over the phone, but it clarified how important and precious the people in my life are. Each one is a gift, a little piece of God’s image.”

Nathan Harden works from home as an editor and communications manager. He has spent most of this year trying to navigate the isolation of living alone.

“I have witnessed my colleagues and their family members fall ill to this virus, require hospitalization, and even die. I have feared for the safety of my family. I have held the hand of patients actively dying alone. I have battled insomnia and paranoia. I have found God’s presence to be an anchor. I have found peace and confidence, not in the absence of danger and threat, but in ...

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