From the Pastor’s Desk- January 2021

God Bless Your New Year

Even in a normal, usual year New Year’s Eve/Day is a paradoxical and bittersweet holiday.  On one hand it can be a time of rejoicing over the accomplishments and blessing that have come our way over the past year.  And on the other hand, it can be a time of relief that a particularly bad year is over.  It can be a time of sadness as we look back at things that once were but will be no more.  Yet it can also be a time of joyous anticipation for good things to come.  It can also be a time of dread and the fearing of even worse calamities to come in the future or joy that things weren’t worse than they were.  It can be a time of rebirth and renewal or can be a time of anxiety and doubt.
For many people 2020 will be a year to remember, but not necessarily for the reasons we’d like to have for remembering.  For a number of folks the loss of a job or an illness or a death or the loss of a friendship may make it memorable but in these cases we’d likely prefer to forget.  Life is filled with hard crosses to bear but even they can remind us of the fleeting nature of our earthly existence and help us look forward to the salvation that is ours in Christ. The Apostle Paul writes, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:18–25).
I have great hopes for the New Year.  And the good Lord willing 2021 will be yet another year to remember in my household, as we anticipate the arrival of our ninth and tenth grandbabies.  I have grown to really appreciate Proverbs 17:6 –   “Grandchildren are the crown of old men, And the glory of sons is their fathers.”  I am very blessed and look upon these blessings with thankfulness in my heart for God’s good gifts as St. Paul says, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4–5).
2021 may not be all I hope for.  It may call for patience and endurance.  We are all aware that like any other year, it will have its own share of difficulties and joys.  However, what is important for each of us to remember is that we do not go into this New Year alone.  We go with Jesus at our side and God has promised that He “will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I pray that you will have a wonderful New Year’s celebration even if it is unlike any celebration that you’ve had in the past.  But more than the celebration of the New Year, we as Christians can celebrate every day the new life that is ours in Christ. Newness is a characteristic of life with God.  We even look forward to a new heaven and a new earth because God makes all things new in Christ.

May God richly bless you and yours in the New Year.

In the Peace of Christ,