Every year around this time the Lord gives me a word to focus on. A word to take into the New Year. This year it was very obvious that the word is HOPE. I know you need this word too. 2020 has been a year of great losses We have been surrounded by a deep sorrow that surrounds us as we get up, during our days and at night. The world turned upside down in March, and shows no sign of returning to what it was before the pandemic.
What is going to happen next year in 2021? No one knows. One thing we do know is that our hope cannot be in the new year. At the end of December, even before Christmas we start focusing on next year and of course that temptation is even greater when everyone wants this year to end. It will. The day that it ends is December 31st.. that also happens to be my birthday. Every year as the year ends.. my personal year ends. How much do I want to believe things will be better next year? How much do I wish this new year would be easier than 2020 when we had a worldwide pandemic, and I lost my sweet husband to dementia?
That’s right I want to dream of better days.. that somehow the pain will lessen and I will find a new purpose in life. Nothing wrong with that, except it is not the answer. The answer is to be found in this season we are celebrating right now. God came into the world when it needed Him the most and brought us hope. It is a hope that we have right now . Jesus is our hope and He is with us in this mess and in whatever new challenges we will face next year. As we approach Christmas it is an opportunity to remember what He has done for us, and to be thankful that we are not alone in a broken world. We have His promises that lift us above our circumstances and we have the hope of eternity with Him.. where there will be no more tears or sorrow.
We have so much to celebrate as we think about Him and how He has saved us and will always take care of us and provide everything we need as we trust Him. So.. in the sorrow, I am going to rejoice in His goodness. i am going to look ahead.. not with faith in 2021, but with faith in our GREAT GOD.
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”
We are in the last week of the year.. that very interesting week between Christmas and New Years. 2013 is ending next Tuesday..which just happens to be my birthday. Growing up I really disliked being born on New Years Eve. Because people were busy celebrating.. I felt like it was a strange time to have a birthday..especially since everyone was already tried out from the holidays.
As an adult I totally enjoy having been born on this date. Each new year of my life starts on January 1st.. how convenient and New Years Day has real significance for me..it is truly the beginning of a new year. I can look back and reflect on 2013 and realize that next week there will be a new beginning. You can do the same thing even if you are not having a birthday.
God wants us to look ahead and expect great things from Him. He also reminds us to look back and thank Him for all that He has done for us. As the year ends and the new one begins we are can say without a doubt that He was with us. When everything seemed to be falling apart..He was there. When we were celebrating..He was there. When we were feeling hopeless.. He gave us hope. When we were filled with joy..He was the reason.
As we cross over the bridge between the already and the not yet..we can be reminded of the promises we have in Him. He has already come into the world and His kingdom is unfolding and yet we wait in anticipation for the things that are not yet completed. He is the Redeemer and we can rest in the knowledge that this new year will provide more opportunities for His redemptive work to bring healing and restoration in our lives and in the lives of those around us!
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. (psalm 126:1-3)
Let’s start with me. My heart is heavy..reading about the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and praying for that situation..realizing how unsafe the world is..it weighs me down. Nothing can change what has happened to that woman and those that love her. It is a tragedy. This is not the first shooting that makes no sense and it won’t be the last. We live in a fallen world..a broken world. Our fragile lives can be lost so quickly and easily..we live in a state of constant insecurity as our culture moves into a more chaotic and frightening state..we all feel it.
Sounds depressing doesn’t it? I know. It all adds up to one thing..we need to be rescued..over and over. We need to be saved from all of this each and every day. We need to be comforted and encouraged. We need to be reminded that this is not all there is. We need to draw near to God and to be filled with courage and strength. We need to be thankful that we have our lives..to appreciate each new day. We need to live fully with the knowledge that God is with us.
He has us in the palm of His hand. This world may be out of control..but He knows and He sees. He cares about the condition of our heart. It matters to Him more than it matters to us. He is the rescuer, healer, and comforter. We can’t deal with all this stuff on our own..we need to run to Him and let Him hold us and reassure us. I am desperate for Him today.. how about you?
“Oh Lord, the hope of Israel, all who turn away from you will be disgraced. They will be buried in the dust of the earth, for they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living water. O Lord if you heal me I will truly be healed; if you save me I will truly be saved. My praises are for You alone!…You alone are my hope in the day of disaster”