See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Exodus 23:20 (NIV)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
A new year is just around the corner. It’s a new beginning and the past is put away forever. God is calling us to let go of all our distrust and fears, all our anxieties and insecurities, all our criticisms, resentments and grudges we’ve been harboring against others. He is calling us to let them go and begin again.
I sometimes think New Year’s Day is at the wrong time of year. With Thanksgiving, then Christmas, its hard to keep up with everything: the church services, Christmas concerts and programs, gatherings, gift buying, card making and sending, decorations, baking, not to mention the day-to-day maintenance of every-day life in general.
Who has time to think about new beginnings and inspirational goals in the midst of old concerns?
The question we must ask yourselves is, “How am I going to choose to live this new year?” Will you choose to live it on the basis of do-it-yourself goodness before God, trying your best to be pleasing to God and meaning it with all your heart but never really fully trusting Him to get you through?
Or will you choose to trust God fully and accept the gift that He has already offered you? It’s a gift of forgiveness – righteousness already yours. It’s a gift of a relationship in which He is your dear friend where you are already cherished. It’s a gift of love where you realize He has provided all that you need, every day.
I now realize that New Year’s is actually at the perfect time of the year. God first gives us the gift of Jesus on Christmas. He then immediately offers us the gift of trusting Him to take us into the new year with Him by our side. If you accept that gift fully, by the end of the year, you can characterize your year as peaceful, content, and beautiful. Choose to open that gift!
After the hustle of Christmas is over, as you’re putting away the Christmas decorations and tearing down the tree, imagine finding a gift left behind under the tree with your name on it. It is wrapped in simple paper, tied with old twine. Curious, you tear into it and find a picture frame, simple but perfect in every way. Inside the frame is no picture, but an old, faded piece of paper adorned with exquisite calligraphy with the following message:
Trust me. I have everything under control.
Lord, thank you for this new year that lies before me. I choose You. I choose to depend on You, trust You, and accept all that You would give me. Help me leave behind the old and learn to walk in your way.