I usually am not a fan of New Year's Eve celebrations. In fact, my favorite way to celebrate the holiday is a quiet family evening, a dish of my wife's lobster bisque and finding myself in bed by 10 pm. Often, as an emergency physician, I brought in the New Year treating people who had celebrated to an extreme. So a quiet New Year's evening satisfies me completely.
This year, however, was unusual. We celebrated the New Year in fine fashion with friends – a lovely dinner, good company, fireworks and loud horns! No, I did not wear a party hat! Celebration carries with it a sense of promise and optimism. New Year's Eve, much like a new day or the start of an athletic event, can be filled with hope. Our imaginations focus on the good that lies ahead – just like the first miles of our vacation trip stirs visions of the pleasant, relaxing days ahead.
However, similar to the mess created by the streamers, food and celebration of New Year's Eve, life quickly moves
- from hope to harsh realities.
- New days bring work and toil
- The start of athletic events are followed by the sweat of competition
- The first miles of our vacation are often followed by monotony,disappointments and delays.
As followers of Jesus, our hope is more than the "hope of a new year". Our hope does not fade with time or circumstances. Rather the hope we possess lies deep in our faith in Christ, deep in the meaning of the cross, deep in the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. As Paul the apostle said, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (1 Peter 1:3) Hope in Christ does not deteriorate over time. It does not grow weak with difficulties. It grows stronger and endures as we walk with God.
This week, may we be encouraged as the followers of Jesus in Thessalonica were when Paul said,
"We continually remember you before our God and Father your work produced by faith, you labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:3)
Sharing the journey with you,