The Old Year, the New Year, Both a Mixed Bag

calendar2017small“I hope the new year is better than this past year was” is a comment we pastors frequently hear around the New Year’s holiday.  Maybe we’ve said it ourselves!  It expresses the opinion that the past year was horrible but that there’s hope for the new year being better. What’s interesting is that if you could fast forward a year from now you’d hear the same phrase just as frequently, “I hope this year is better than this past year was.”

The reality is that every year contains a mixture of both good and bad. True, some years may seem to be better or worse than other years, but on the whole most years contain a mixture of both. In 2016, for instance, we celebrated the wedding of a granddaughter and mourned the death of my mother. You can probably identify a similar mix in your own life in the year that’s just past.

The truth is that we can fixate on the bad of the past year and insist on only good for the new year, but neither is a realistic perspective. There’s a better perspective we can adopt, and that’s the view that God was with us in the past year and will be with us in the new year, no matter what the circumstances!

God was with us as we went through those tough times of last year. In fact, sometimes it’s easier to identify His working in those difficult situations with the passing of time. And then too, He did bless in different ways in the past year, right?

The coming year will undoubtedly also be a mixed bag. Our comfort can come from knowing, believing, and acting upon the fact that God will be with us, and we with Him, through the new year. We may not know what’s coming our way, but He does, and He has a plan! As the old adage goes, “We can’t know what the future holds, but we can know the One who holds the future!”

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (the apostle Paul in Romans 8:38-39)

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