This weekend we finished one of my least favorite tasks of the year. Taking down the Christmas decorations always makes me melancholy. I love Christmas and the message of hope it brings. That God entered human form and gave us hope in a Savior who understands our struggle.
We packed up a treasured Nativity creche that has been a part of our family tradition for decades. That miracle in Bethlehem is where I place my joy as I head into a very unstable New Year. I find my joy in the Messiah, the Lord – who was born in the city of David. It is so easy to remember the reason for hope during Christmas. But now that we are past this wonderful season it is very easy to pack my hope away and unpack lots of worry. The twenty-four news cycle feeds on negativity. Hearing the message of gloom and doom over and over has it’s effect on even the most steadfast believers. Our country is going through a difficult period but you would think the sky has already fallen when you watch the cable news networks. The news reporters peddle fear and I choose not to be paralyzed by it. The angel of the Lord told the shepherds not to be afraid. Jesus talked a lot about fear.
“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. (Matthew 10 – NLT)
And these words from Jesus could have been in response to the news reporting hysteria we hear nearly every day.
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?…Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” (Luke 12, NLT)
So I have made some decisions. I don’t make vows because I know I will fall short at some point. Choosing a direction allows me to stumble off course but then get right back on track.
I have decided to direct my time a little differently this year. I want to spend less time watching and reading the news and more time reading and meditating on God’s Word. I want to Bipartisan pray for our leaders in Washington but I am going to trust God to provide my hope. I want to live joyfully in each precious moment that God gives me and not live in paralyzing fear of the future. I agree with C.S. Lewis when he wrote these words. “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.“
I have packed away the decorations for this year but I want to unpack the hope that Christ gives me for every single day in 2020. You can do that too. May you have a joyful New Year in spite of your circumstances. Our hope is in Christ. And that hope is certain.