Ringing in the New Year

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What does a new year bring? Hope, new beginnings, sickness, death? I know that seems like an odd combination of words to string together, but let’s be honest, can’t a new year bring all of these things?

When we hear “New Year” it is mostly characterized by new beginnings, such as losing weight, eating healthier, and making resolutions to do things better. It’s also characterized by hope. There is hope in a new tomorrow and that is definitely true if you are a believer in Jesus.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! –2 Corinthians 5:17

There is so much to be excited about when considering the possibilities for the new year. I am thankful for a God that gives us new beginnings, not only through faith in Jesus, but in the start of a new day, new month, or new year. We have a God who gives us grace upon grace.

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. –John 1:16

We don’t have to have a new year to receive his never-ending hope, we can have it every second of every day.

On Facebook, I’ve seen posts about how 2018 has started off great for several people, and I am glad for them. But what about those people whose 2018 hasn’t started off so great? What about the people who have just lost loved ones or whose loved ones are critically or terminally ill? Should they count 2018 as a wash and just relent that it’s going to be a bad year? Maybe the worst year of their life? I almost feel like we are made to choose–will 2018 be our best year yet or will we wish it were over, almost before it’s begun?

What if we didn’t have to choose? What if it could be real life? What if it could be great and hard? Jesus never promised that we would not face troubles in this world, but He did promise that He has overcome the world.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33

I kind of want to raise my hands in praise to that! Maybe I will, maybe that should be one of my resolutions this year, to be more open with my praise! Sometimes we don’t carry through with the resolutions that we make because they are too daunting. Sometimes we do and we see life change. This year, what if we made a resolution to know Jesus more. Jesus, who promises hope even in times of great sadness, a new beginning even when we think we’ve messed up so badly that it’s impossible for anyone to forgive us or love us. A relationship with Jesus includes communication (prayer), community with other believers, and time spent in His Word, the Bible. From experience I can tell you this relationship can offer you that constant hope and freedom all year long.

So will you let these first few weeks of 2018 define your year, whether good or bad, or will you learn more and put more faith in this man named Jesus, who can offer you never-ending hope and new life? Jesus is real and he knows about real life. He promises us we will have troubles, but He also promises us He will never leave our side.

If you are not a follower of Jesus, I challenge you to pick up the Bible and start reading the book of Mark, then the book of John. Talk to Him for a few weeks and just see what happens. If you want to dive deeper, visit some churches until you find one where you are comfortable and get connected.

If you are a believe in Jesus, I challenge you to do one new thing, whether it’s to read the Bible more, join a small group, serve somewhere, start a prayer journal, or anything you feel would draw you closer to Him.

Here’s to 2018! May we trust Jesus with it all.

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