“And now we welcome the new year, 2018, full of things that have never been”, so said Rainer Maria Rilke. I’ve always loved that quote. There is something exciting and hopeful about standing on the edge of a new year, peeking through the doorway, and wondering what experiences will meet you on this new journey. I toyed off and on with the idea of writing a new year post, because the truth is that I don’t have many warm, fuzzy thoughts about starting a new year. The end of 2017 was rough and alot of those same situations are still cause for concern and prayer right now, I’m starting back to work in a changed environment where many people I’ve learned to love are now gone, and I’m beleaguered by a sinus infection yet again. (I have celebrated the last several new years with a sinus infection, literally counting down the hours till the Dr. office will open and I can plead for an appointment). I’m exhausted, my family is exhausted, and I think we all just want time to stop for a while so we can catch our breath and bearings again. But of course, time doesn’t stop and we go on to face an uncertain future just like we do every day. But though the path is uncertain to us, it is not to God, and He promises to be right there with us holding our hands the whole way. In my devotions I’ve just finished the narrative about Joseph, who was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery in a foreign land, punished as a criminal, and then rose to second in command of all of Egypt and saved the lands from famine. The more I’ve read his life, the more I come to appreciate it… and the one phrase that describes it over and over. At every phase of his life, the narrator explains “but the LORD was with Joseph”. In every setback, in every failure, in every success, in every celebration; the LORD was with Joseph. He probably didn’t feel like God was with him, probably cried out in despair at being forgotten, but the truth was God was preparing Joseph for a future he couldn’t even dream of. And for thousands of years now, the life of Joseph has been upheld as an example of what faith looks like. I’m praying that as I enter the new year, that I will remember the LORD is with me, just as He was with Joseph. I’ve spent far too long listening to what my heart and feelings have to say about my circumstances and not enough of preaching God’s truth to my heart.
Earlier in December, my mom and I had the opportunity to go to Cincinnati for a weekend and enjoy some Christmasing. For the first time ever, we were able to attend Christ’s Church (our beloved little neighborhood church) at the beginning of the Advent season. The minister who delivered the sermon ended with these words. It was applicable as we entered the Christmas season and I find it even more appropriate as we stand on the threshold of a new year.
“And so we wait at the gates of hope, throwing open all the doors, and welcoming the transformation that comes from ‘God with us’ “
As we throw open the doors to 2018, may we not lose sight of the truth that God is with us.
P.S. I was in Texas over Christmas, but the snow at home stayed around to greet me on my return. I’m having a white New Year!
Blessings to you,
Sorry to hear that you’re not feeling up to par, Sarah. I caught a cold, too. It seems with all the visiting, different food and stress of the season, our bodies let us know they’d prefer a quieter routine! May the new year unfold in bright and hopeful ways. Blessings!
Years ago I imagined that Jesus, in His bodily form, was accompanying me and following me around a place with lots of antiques. At first I wondered if it was a good idea to be doing this and when I had shared with a certain church minister, his reflections were very favorable. If we, who know the truth about God and love Him, get in the habit to always keep in mind that He is with us, always with us no matter what, from day to day, minute by minute, and each step of the way, whatever we do or are involved with, then imagine how wonderfully impacting that would be. I believe we would flourish so much in our Christian pilgrimage. Sarah, may God richly bless you and help you always. Happy New Year!
Sending you so much love. xxx