As I was tucking my daughter into bed last night, I mentioned that tomorrow (today) was the last day of 2020, and what a relief it was to be entering a new year. She thought for a moment, and then asked, "Daddy, why is new year such a big deal? I mean, what if they new year is just as bad as last year?"
That's a fair question, and one that I suspect leads many to adopt a cynical attitude towards a new year, and by extension, new seasons or new opportunities.
This year could be just as bad as the last one . . . so why even hope for better?
That used to be me; cynically walking into the new year and looking down on those who relished the clean slate offered by the turn of the calendar. If you find yourself struggling to look forward to the new year, perhaps even looking at it with dread . . . I get it, I really do. 2020 was uniquely challenging and we enter 2021 under a fog of uncertainty. Allow me to encourage you with 3 reasons you should look forward to 2021 and stir up your resolve (or resolutions!)
1. THINGS CHANGE
One constant in the unfolding of creation is that things don't stay the same. They grow, evolve, chart new courses. One thing that can be counted on is that 2021 will present a new set of variables that will bring new challenges, but also new opportunities. The command of God to subdue and cultivate the earth anticipates that every new patch of earth we till, every new minute new walk into reveals old things AND new things.
ACTION ITEM: Focus your thoughts on the treasure waiting to be unearthed in 2021. What new opportunities, new relationships and new goals is God eagerly waiting to reveal to you in 2021!
2. I'LL BE DIFFERENT
One things that has certainly changed this year is . . . YOU! If you could have told yourself at the beginning of 2020 what was about to transpire, you might not have believed you. The fact is, through God's help, you made it through 2020, and now you have new perspective. You know more about where you're weak, the places in your mind, spirit and daily activites that need work. You also know where you're strong - that you have God-given people and resources in your life to help you navigate even the most challenging of season.
ACTION ITEM: Take a few minutes to look back on 2020 from a position of gratitude. "What has God taught me about myself? Where do I need to grow stronger? What resources and people am I grateful for? What things have I overcome through God's help?
3. THINGS CHANGE, GOD DOESN'T
The Christmas season brought back to our minds this foundational truth of our faith - our hope is not in circumstances, it's in a person, and that person is Jesus Christ. The birth of Jesus was the birth of hope. Whatever does or doesn't happen in 2021, whatever challenges and victories we experience, our hope about the future is not dependent on what, it's dependent on who. Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever. Things change, He doesn't. He's always good, always strong, always kind. And He's gone before us in 2021, which means we can boldly follow Him into whatever is waiting.
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5
ACTION ITEM: Spend a few minutes in silent meditation in God's presence. Any time a worry or conern about the year enters your mind, focus your thoughts on Jesus. Who He is, what He's done.
I hope you'll talk a few minutes today to reflect on 2020, and prepare your heart and mind for the opportunities God has prepared. It's going to be a good year!
For resources on starting off 2021 strong, check out thrivehere.church/newyear
Join us this Sunday, January 3rd, for the start of our new series, 'Sacred Rhythms. This series will help you establish healthy, life-giving rhythms in your mind, family and work for 2021.