Happy New Year! It is time once again to ring in the New Year. I have fifty years of experience ringing in the New Year. Some were more memorable than others. Some were exciting, and some were not so exciting. Some were filled with sorrow and many others were filled with joy. The older I get, the more reflective I am when it comes to celebrating the New Year. What once was a youthful cause to “parr-tay,” is now a time of deep reflection, future anticipation, and Christ-centered joyful celebrating with friends and family.

There is a “not-so-subtle” question that comes with celebrating the New Year. That question is, “What is your hope for the coming year?” This question may be asked in several different ways like, “What is your New Year’s wish?” or “What is your New Year’s resolution?” or “What are your plans for the coming year?” All of these questions point to the same concern—where are you putting your hope this year? Many of us hope for a better job, or not to lose our current job, or higher pay, or more Republicans or Democrats in the government. Maybe we are hoping for a better family life, that our children will get into the right college, or that this year’s harvest will be better than last year’s. The litany of future hopes is never ending, and even though many of these hopes are good, they often times betray us by revealing that our future hope is firmly planted in this world.

God knows that we need many things for life in this world, and He has promised to supply our every need. But more importantly, God knows our most desperate need is a Savior. Throughout the Advent season we looked forward to the coming of our Savior, and we celebrated his birth on Christmas Day. Our Savior’s name is Jesus, and His name means, “He will save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). In Jesus, God supplied our greatest need. All things in this world will pass away, and, in essence, will disappoint our hopes or let us down. However, when we place our hope in Christ we will never be disappointed. He will NOT let us down. He promises to forgive us, love us, and never to forsake us.

The New Year is full of opportunities! A blank slate is before us to write on as we choose. We the people of St. Paul Lutheran Church will go out this year proclaiming the Word of the Lord to people who are dying. We will be a beacon of hope in a darkening world. We will shine the light of Christ for all to see. We will lift up and encourage one another and Christ will bind us together with love. What wonderful things await us this year! We are the church. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

My New Year’s prayer for you, for me, and for all people is that we would hear the Holy Spirit leading us to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that we would put our hope in the One who has given us this present and future promise of salvation and eternal life. Let’s run the race! On your mark…get set…GO!   Thanks be to God!

 

Pastor Mat


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