I always find it exciting at the start of the year to put the new calendars up on the wall. To see their clear squares and pages, wondering what is going to fill them. It’s like a clean slate. The new year holds such possibilities; it’s full of the unknown. There will be the obvious dates you include; birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, vacation plans. But what will be on the other days?
What opportunities will present themselves? What will I see as important to commit to? What are the things I have to do? What are the things I will choose to do? How will I decide what my priorities are for 2019? My schedule will show what I think is important by what I mark in but will I decide or will I let others dictate that to me?
Will there be new significant dates to add to the list? What will the new year hold in the health of my family? For those in this community? What challenges and struggles will we have to wrestle with in the new year? What accomplishments and triumphs will we celebrate?
How will God challenge us to live out our faith in 2019? What opportunities for ministry; for caring and offering compassion will we encounter? What will we learn about our relationship with God and how the Spirit moves through our lives? How will our personal relationship with God grow and deepen this year? Or will we stumble, not feeling strongly connected to the One who created us?
Lots of questions, with no answers right now. Which makes it both scary and exciting at the same time to face the beginning of this new year.
One important part is our role in this discovery. Will we be passive and wait for all to be revealed or will we be more bold in this new year? Will we be content in doing the same things or will we take risks to open up new possibilities and new understandings of who we are? Will we try new things or will we let the familiar shape our journey? The answer will be different for each person and the answers may be different in January than they are in August.
The words from Psalm 139 often provide me with reassurance and guidance. Not necessarily the answers I am looking for, but does remind me that I do not search for them alone.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. (Psalm 139:1-10, NRSV)
So whatever choices and decisions we need to face and make in 2019, we have the reassurance that God will be with us while we are searching for our answers. That no matter how we try to hide or run from that presence, God’s love and presence is firm.
So not only is there the excitement of the new year stretched out before us, but we have the confidence and reassurance of God walking with us, each and every day. The possibilities are endless!
I hope 2019 is a year of happiness, good health and joy for each of you and that you will feel the love and peace of God in your life.