Embracing God’s Call to Move Forward with Hope and Purpose
The prophet Isaiah says, “See I am doing a new thing! Now springs it up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19).
I love the concept of New Year’s. It is not a religious holiday, but it is an annual celebration of the passing of time. Cynics will dismiss it as arbitrary, but it can be an annual reminder of God’s grace. If our past year included hurt or hardship, guilt or regret, broken resolutions or broken relationships, we are invited to begin anew.
Isaiah says, “God is doing a new thing.” Here and now.
God never calls us to go back, but is always beckoning us forward just as he did with those Magi so long ago with a star in the sky. With the birth of a baby, there was new hope for the future. For us, with this birth of a new year, we can be hopeful as we begin to see what looks like a light.
Some are familiar with Ecclesiastes 3. Some, in a certain generation, are more familiar with the song by the Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” The words are a reminder:
There is a time to be born and a time to die;
There is a time to kill and a time to heal;
There is a time to mourn and a time to dance;
There is a time to weep and a time to laugh;
There is a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.
We may find comfort in these words. We are reminded that just as there is mourning, there is also joy; just as there is separation, there is reunion; just as we have worried together and wept together, we can laugh together and sing together. This new year will be filled with many different experiences and emotions, encounters and opportunities.
Perhaps, the most important words as we cross this bridge from what was to what is—from 2023 to 2024—”I know that whatever God does endures forever” (Ecclesiastes 3:14a).
What will you do with your gift of 2024?
My friend, Dr. Brett Younger, pastor of Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, offers some words to encourage and inspire us:
Life is short:
Life is too short to spend hours a day on fantasy football, smartphone solitaire and cable news.
Life is too short for frozen pizza, bad novels or having the cleanest gutters on the block.
Life is too short to keep waiting for vacation, a special occasion or a better day.
Life is too short to sit around moping, choosing despair and worrying about what people think.
Life is too short to be bitter over the things you can’t change.
Life is short, so live every day as if it were your last, because some day you will be right.
Life is short, so do what you love to do and give it your best.
Life is short, so go to church, stay awake and sing.
Life is short, so stop and stand in awe and amazement.Life is short, so listen to the people you love and tell them how much they mean to you.
Life is short, so celebrate God’s grace. Make time for the things that matter.
Life is short, so believe and act as if God’s Kingdom may come on earth as it is in heaven.
I am proud to be your pastor and excited as we enter this new year!
– Chris George, Senior Pastor