Walking into a New Year

I took the ornaments from our Christmas tree one by one. I threw away cookie crumbs and wrapping paper, vacuuming up the disposable elements of Christmas in our home, all the while contemplating the decrescendo from a major day of celebration.

A couple of days of breathing room remain between each of us and a new year – 2018. The old calendar gets taken down and a new one, fresh and unwritten on, goes up on our kitchen wall.

And for many of us, that is exactly what the turning of a new year feel like for us: an unwritten page, a clean slate, a new opportunity to do those things we never did but wanted to in 2017. A new year is a line in the sand for many, a chance to establish good habit patterns and re-think priorities.

 Before Moving Forward, Look Back

What a joy and delight it is to unwrap the present of a new day or a new year! Seasons changing, birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays – they are all opportunities to reflect on the great gifts that God has given to us and express our gratitude to Him.

Psalm 143:5 says, “I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.” One of the ways that we can express thankfulness to the Lord is to look back at what He has done in and through our lives in 2017.

What has 2017 been like for you? My husband and I discussed this very topic this morning. Looking back at January 2017 until now brings a wide range of emotions and memories.

In our family alone we have seen the passing of a dearly loved one, the joys and stress of a growing business, deepening relationships with family and old friends, development of new friendships, healing of some old wounds, a few untimely hospital visits and a handful of near-death experiences.

My husband asked me, “What stands out to you?” or what am I most thankful for this year? And here it is for me: In a year of many ups and downs and unpredictable moments, I am thankful that the Lord’s love is steadfast. I am thankful that He is faithful. That He keeps His promises. I am thankful that nothing – not life, nor death, nor things present nor things to come can separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ.

And I am thankful that He has seen fit to bring us through 2017 and made us more aware of His loving presence in our lives at each twist and turn.

What was 2017 like for you? Was this a painful or difficult year? A year of great growth and joy? I pray that whatever this year was like for you, you will know that you are not alone.

And as you walk into 2018, what bright possibilities lay before you? What potential hazards lay along your path? Whatever lies ahead, we need not fear. We have a faithful and trustworthy guide who will hold our hands and lead us through whatever beautiful or difficult paths we may face.

this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.” – Psalm 48:12-14

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