It is the beginning of a new year and with every new year comes an opportunity to reach out and claim God’s promises with new hope. That's part of why we celebrate the New Year.
But perhaps there is another part to our need for celebration, particularly this year. Perhaps it has something to do with our need to put disappointments and fears of the past behind us. This past year was certainly not the easiest for any of us--no matter where in the world you make your home. The pandemic and all the disruption that it brought, wildfires, hurricanes, racial unrest, political divisions; for most of us, this past year was very difficult.
So we go into this new year with many challenges facing us, personally, nationally, and globally. Yet, for all the challenges we have faced this past year, we go into the new year with hope.
After months of sickness, death and economic disruption around the world caused by Covid19, there are, at last, and in record time, vaccines available to immunize people against the virus. Right now, the vaccines are being made available to those most at risk: healthcare workers, nursing home residents and staff, first responders. Yet, though it will still be several months before these vaccines are widely available to the general public, the end of this pandemic is at least in sight. And that is cause for tremendous hope.
In the meantime, we will have to continue to take measures to contain the spread of the virus: masking when we are with others, social distancing, hand washing, and limiting our contact with those outside our household. But now we know that we will not have to do these things indefinitely.
And there are many challenges that still lie ahead in the new year as we begin to rebuild our economy, and restore the relationships and rhythms of our lives that have been so disrupted by Covid19. And there is also the challenge of beginning to heal the deep political, economic, and racial divisions in our nation. But as we face these challenges, Christians can find comfort and hope in the knowledge that God is always with us, and is working for good in our lives and in the world.
There’s a song, corny perhaps, but still a good reminder to us, "He's got the whole world in His hands." Perhaps what we need in times of uncertainty and challenge is to picture as we once did when we were kids, the big hands of God cradling the entire globe.
Let us, therefore, be encouraged to look to the coming new year with confidence--not in ourselves, but in the goodness and grace of God.
New Year's greetings and best wishes for the coming year,