December 24, 2009

Celebrating the old and looking forward to the new

This morning I sat down at my computer, peppermint mocha in hand, to write about the end of one year and the beginning of a new one. I love the start of new things. The first day of a new school semester with perfectly sharpened pencils and fresh notebooks waiting to be filled. It is always an exciting thing to have a fresh start and January 1 is the golden day of new beginnings. I've always viewed it as the best of all do-overs. Everything I didn't do last year but meant to do I can try for again this time. All the things I didn't do so well, I can do those better. Freshness, newness, possibility of greatness, it's a wonderful feeling.

But, this year, I have a different feeling. 2009 was a spectacular year for me. I loved it. I've grown attached to my pencils and I like the doodles in my notebooks. I don't want a do-over this year. I want to keep going. So, instead of scrapping what has come before and claiming a brand new start, I'm just gonna keep on trekking. Life is a marathon after all, not a sprint.

This year I hope the close of December and the fresh start of January is a celebration not just of new resolutions, but of all that has come before. I look back over these past twelve months and I see that God has done miracles in the mundane everydayness of my life.  He has healed parts of my heart, killed pieces of my selfishness, blessed me beyond measure with a new job, a wonderful church and the frequent laughter of friends. He continues to teach me to be patient, to trust him when I am doubtful and to rest in his provision. I don't know what this new year will hold. I'm not certain that it will be happier or nicer than the last, but I do know that God will be in it with me. Emmanuel has come. His Holy Spirit dwells within me and will continue the good work he has begun in me and in the world until the day he returns again to make all things new. I have great hopes for this year and I wait in joyful anticipation of what the Lord has in store. Whether I spend this year in the house of prosperity or in the house of mourning my God will be with me and if I endeavor seek him, trust him and obey him I can be confident that his name will be glorified and my soul will know peace and rest in him.

Ecclesiastes 7: 8-14 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better that the proud in spirit. Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fool. Say not, "Why were the former days better than these?" For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. Wisdom is good with an inheritance, an advantage to those who see the sun. For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it. Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.

Lamentations 3:21-27 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to and end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.

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