Auld Lang Syne; a time to ponder “days gone by”. Are you ready for the New Year? Do you have plans for the New Year? Do you make resolutions every year only to see them fall by the wayside in a few months? The New Year always provides for a time of reflection on what transpired the year before, along with a sense of hopeful anticipation of what the year ahead has in store.
Through the years New Year’s Eve celebrations have varied. Of course as a young child I remember wondering what all the hoopla was about. Then when I was finally allowed to stay up late and watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve I remember saying after seeing the ball drop in Times Square, “That’s it? That’s all there is to it?” Of course as I grew older I then took part in various celebrations playing games through the night, ringing in the New Year and then playing more games. As I entered ministry that changed to different New Year’s Eve services where we sang and prayed in the New Year to praying and declaring God’s plans for the New Year.
As the calendar year moved from 1999 to the year 2000 I was ministering in a church just outside of Rochester, New York. Some in the church were very scared about Y2K and some stockpiled food and other supplies. We did have a New Year’s Eve service that year and as the clock approached midnight many of us were celebrating the turn of the century, while others shook in fear hidden away in their basements. When everything moved forward into the year 2000 my response was similar to my first New Year’s Eve ball drop – “That’s it? That’s all there is to it?” Apparently the doomsday soothsayers missed the mark once again.
As we enter the year 2016 it’s easy to look at the state of the world and wonder if there is any hope for the future. Once again many are in a state of fear wondering when the next terrorist attack might come on foreign soil, or worse yet, on our own soil. While I’m certainly not advocating we live in a place of denial, I do believe there is still hope for the future.
For the past few years I’ve found myself spending a lot of time in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel. Known as a prophet to the nation of Israel as they found themselves in the midst of exile – and even though some of the messages proclaimed by Ezekiel were harsh – there was always present a sense of hope. In the midst of exile, Ezekiel encouraged the nation of Israel that God had a plan for them and He would never leave them nor forsake them. The reason for their exile was actually quite simple. The nation of Israel took their eyes off of God and put their trust and love in something else. Whenever we take our eyes off of God as our place of safety and trust, we turn to some form of idolatry. For the nation of Israel, it was big. But it did not start out big, it was a slow drifting away as they trusted more in what was around them, instead of the One who led them.
Where is your trust as we enter the year 2016? Are you depending more on things around you than the One who created you? Maybe as we enter into 2016 you find yourself full of fear and wondering what the next day might hold. If that’s the case the good news is this, God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. I also believe we can enter the New Year with a sense of peace and courageous boldness as we remember the words God encouraged Joshua with as he was ready to enter the Promised Land – “I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous as you enter into your inheritance” Joshua 1:5-6.
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.