With the flickering lights of Christmas now beginning to fade, most people will start having thoughts for the New Year celebration and the welcoming in of the New Year and so whether we choose it or not, we all find ourselves in a time of reflection, reflecting upon last year and perhaps hoping that next year will be better. In a lot of ways it’s the one time of the year that people might find themselves being kind of fatalistic in that they wonder what the new year will bring them; the new year in itself is not what you might call an entity but people do tend to clock up in their minds that there is such a thing as the hand of fate and they wonder what hand they might be dealt in the new year, this can of course all look awry if you are not careful but on the other hand a good approach is to be as St Paul said and that is to,
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication (earnestly pleading) with thanksgiving let your requests by known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 4:6,7).
Some might say, “This is pretty poor advice because of course you have to be careful! How can you not be careful? You might mess everything up if you weren’t! Surely your first inclination is to be careful and you might even think that you weren’t even careful enough last year and I’ll have to be more careful next year and here you are telling me not to be careful but to be prayerful instead. Isn’t prayerful being careful? There seems to be a contradiction here! So what are you really saying? That I should be more prayerful and therefore careful?” The answer to that is yes, we really do need to pray more; if we are careful without praying then we are NOT being careful because we are leaving God out of our New Year celebration and therefore out of our New Year!
Perhaps you are the sort of person who looks back on last year and you can see all the good things that happened in your life and even the bad, it’s sometimes hard for us in all honesty to pinpoint a miracle in our lives as sometimes and perhaps a lot of the time this can be put down to mere coincidence and perhaps even wishful thinking so taking that out of the equation: can you actually pinpoint any miracles that really did occur in your life last year? Perhaps there were more miracles that you even realised and these weren’t mere coincidences or wishful thinking or chance situations at all. In all of this there is surely one thing that you cannot doubt and that is those precious moments when you really truly did find the Love of Jesus breaking through your trying situations and all that confusion that tends to break out. Perhaps you are like King David in the Psalms who found himself running from refuge to refuge to refuge and all those storms in between, perhaps you even found yourself breaking down in the midst of this and crying out as he did and perhaps saying (or words to this effect),
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Psalm 43:5).
And so maybe at times you got out of bed with a heavy heart, you prayed your prayer and then you though to yourself, “Let’s see what the day brings!” and maybe you walked down the stairs thinking “God help me, I’m so human! Why do I doubt you so much when I’ve just prayed? Clearly you were right there with me yesterday, you came through for me, You came through for others around me even, You were right there, so real and so loving and so kind and so precious, You are all those precious moments when I came up for air and it was You who gave me the strength of Your presence and so I swam on and another wave engulfed me and then I battled against the tides again and finally I came up for air and was back in Your presence and the sea was now calm for a while. Yes, YOU were there last year so why shouldn’t YOU be there for us all next year!” If there is any thing or anyone that we all need in the New Year then it has to be the presence of the LORD as,
“Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)