Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hope for the New Year

[Following is the article I wrote for January 2009 issue of the parish newsletter.]

The New Year is always a time for reflection on the year that has just past. Usually, as I look back on the previous year, I find myself overcome with emotion and sentimentality over what has occurred during the previous twelve months, thinking about the many ways I have grown and changed, the successes I have experienced, and pondering the ways that I might have done things better. But this year is a little different. I’m sure that many of you share my sentiment that you would just as soon forget that 2008 ever happened. While I may still get a little teary-eyed on New Year’s Eve, I’m sure they will be more tears of sorrow than tears of joy. After all, the news and events of the past year have been, by and large, less than cheery, to say the least.

As this new year begins, more than any other year, I find that I am looking forward more than I am looking back. With all the negative news we have witnessed, the difficulties and losses we have all experienced due to the global financial crisis, I feel a need more than ever to look forward in hope – hope that 2009 will be better than 2008, hope that things will improve. I think, now more than ever, we need hope – if for no other reason than to prevent us from spiraling into the pit of despair that hopelessness always brings.

As I think about hope, I am reminded that we are a people of hope. Our faith is built upon hope. The hope of Abraham and Sarah that God would fulfill His promise to provide offspring that would become a great nation. The hope of the Hebrews wandering in the desert that God, through Moses, would lead them to the Promised Land. The hope of the people of Israel that they would return home from exile in Babylon. The hope of a Messiah announced to Zechariah. The hope of a son who would be Emmanuel, God with us, promised to Mary. And the hope of new life promised through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For thousands of years, hope carried our Old Testament ancestors through unimaginable trials and tribulations. For the past two thousand years, hope in our Lord Jesus Christ has seen countless Christians through incredibly difficult times. Like these, our forebears, we cannot forget our past. But we don’t have to dwell in or on the past. We can, instead, look ahead, in hope, to better things to come – to the land of milk and honey that God wishes for us all, that God promises to us all. Let us pray that 2009 brings us one step closer to that promise.

I wish you all a blessed and happy New Year.

1 comment:

Yard[D]og said...

This is very very thoughtful ...