Ever since 2020, I’ve approached New Year’s reflections with a bit more caution or measure. My memory is that there was such great hope heading into 2020, and I clearly remember a number of social media posts bidding good riddance to 2019. If only we had known…
I know for some of us, 2023 has been a year to go back to the dumpster fire from which it came. Some years are just like that. While facing the unknown can be difficult, doing so as we turn the calendar page can feel a little more hopeful.
Embracing that hope but leaving behind the rose-colored glasses, perhaps some thoughts from my Time with the Young Disciples on Christmas Eve can guide us all into the year ahead.
When we are facing the unknown, when it feels like we have very limited choices, or when we don’t know how to choose our next steps, what can we do? Unlike Joseph, who made the right decision after some divine intervention, we might not rely on angelic visitors or prophetic dreams. But we can be guided by love. What decision, what step, what action, will be the most loving one?
What can we do when we face challenges and circumstances with scary, unknown futures? Like the young girl Mary, we can find bravery and courage knowing that God is with us. More than that, we can proclaim that God is with us AND is turning the world around. That’s the hope that we know in Jesus Christ. It far exceeds the hope for a better year ahead; it is hope that anticipates God’s re-creation, reconciliation, and redemption of all that fuels our dumpster fire days, weeks, months, and years. It’s hope that comforts and encourages, and we can be bold to claim this hope because God is still with us.
God has been with us from the very beginning, and then the Word became flesh to dwell among us. Following the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we, the church, are the body of Christ. We are the most tangible evidence of God with us today. The body of Christ shows up in a ministry of presence, and through participating in the ongoing work of transformation and redemption of the world around us. Trinity does both so well.
As we make our way into 2024, may the Holy Spirit empower us to be led by God’s love as we journey together in mission and ministry as the body of Christ. Happy New Year!
Grace and Peace,