Tuesday, January 2, 2018

HOPE and New Beginnings

I don’t know about you but, truth be told, I’m not one for New Years Eve celebrations.  You know the kind: party hats, Auld Lang Syne, toasting the old and ringing in the new…that.  Oh, there was a time when those traditions were important but as I age, I am content to “celebrate” within the warmth of my own home.

Today is the very first day of 2018 and, true to my previous statement, Charlie and I enjoyed a quiet evening at home.  Actually, it was rather amazing that we both stayed awake long enough to watch the ball drop in Times Square!    

However, something of significance did happen right outside our living room window. We are immensely blessed to live in a community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where trees, lakes and wildlife are inherent in our geographic DNA.  We have snow and very cold temperatures right now, another good reason to stay indoors.

In the midst of the ordinariness of life, I heard the sounds of fireworks.  Yes! Our small city was enjoying its own version of the NYC fireworks and “ball drop”; only here it is a “pasty drop”.  (The pasty is a local food with a fascinating history…not to be confused with pastie!)  Our local park, just blocks away, hosted both events and we loved watching the fireworks from our living room window as they exploded their vibrant colors across the sky.

As we focused on the excitement outside, a word flashed through my mind.  As we basked in the light and warmth of our fireplace, grateful to NOT be outdoors in the frigid air, the word HOPE danced through my brain and around my heart.  A simple word filled with profound meaning.  How is it that in this world with so much sadness and suffering, we continue to look forward with HOPE

So many of my friends and loved ones are struggling in different ways.  Marriages are stressed, finances inadequate, health threatened.  How can we approach a new year with so much HOPE?  If it depends on wealth….well we know how quickly that can disappear.  A phone call after a lab test can change a HOPE that is anchored in good health.  A house/business fire can make worldly goods and jobs disappear within minutes.

1st Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living HOPE (my emphasis) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, …”

Romans 15:13, “May the God of HOPE (emphasis mine) fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in HOPE.” (emphasis mine)

Do you get that?!  We have every reason to celebrate, to set off fireworks, to proclaim and laugh and rejoice. When we truly comprehend that our HOPE is not in the things of this world…then we know the health report, bank statement or even the worst catastrophe we can imagine cannot keep us from the HOPE that lies in Jesus.

He is coming back! (1st Thessalonians, chapters 4 and 5).  Maybe 2018 will be the year of His return.  Why not?!  In Revelation 21:5 Jesus says He will make all things new. We don’t have to wait on His return to experience new life.  II  Corinthians 5:17 promises that when we put our trust in Jesus, WE BECOME NEW!

I can’t think of a better way to look forward to a year filled with HOPE than to sink deeply into the promises God gave us through His Son, Jesus.  What a wonderful way to approach the unknown. We may not know what is ahead but God is already there.  We can hold to the same promise Jesus made to His disciples when he said He had prepared the way. (John 14)
 
I don’t know about you, but my HOPE is in the One whose birthday we recently celebrated.  Jesus was born into humble beginnings, lived a perfect life, suffered on the cross, died, was buried and then resurrected from the dead. From the cross He declared, “It is finished.”  He paved the way.  His life, death and resurrection means, when we make Jesus Lord of our lives, we have HOPE for today as well as for eternity.   


Have a happy, HOPE filled New Year!  

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post, my friend. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete