Sometimes it seems as though we begin a new year three times – in Advent, with the beginning of a new Church year; in January, when the calendar turns again; and in September when our children go off to school and some of us begin another year as a teacher, school nurse, or administrator. In Advent, we reflect on the darkness that may have become part of our life, and repent in order to be ready for the coming of Christ. As January comes, we look to New Year’s resolutions, making plans to better our selves through a variety of self-disciplines. In September, after children have been off of school, a new chapter rolls around – some begin making college visits, others visits to new schools for the following year.
However you count your New Year, I hope it is filled with the goodness that God desires to give you. In order to receive that goodness, all you have to do is ask. Jesus said, “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door shall be opened.” This is not meant as asking in the way children ask Santa Claus for a new toy; and yet there is an aspect of our heavenly father who only wants to give us good things. I do not believe that trauma or disease comes from God – it seems clear to me that these things happen because sin is in the world, and has corrupted this earth. Therefore we who live here sometimes deal with evil consequences. God’s giving to us does not bring pain or sorrow; God’s giving to us brings depth of soul, peace, joy, and hope.
Ask – ask for what you need this year. Ask to draw closer to God. Ask for God’s direction and guidance. Ask God to deepen your love for other people. Ask God for help with finances, for provision, for healing, for grace. God, our Emmanuel, is with us and is consumed with love for each and every person. You. Your children. That annoying person at the store. Every. Person.
May you have a blessed New Year. May you make your resolutions in faith and hope, knowing that God is with you.