2023

It’s that time of year again. As I get older, it comes faster and faster. The world is a spinning top and it flies around the sun with such fervor and intensity, it seems it might fly off course and crash at any moment. The speed is mind-boggling.

When I was a kid, it seemed time moved at a snail’s pace. Now, it races with me and keeps me in a flurry, just trying to keep up. At year’s end, when it comes time to reflect, I can’t remember what happened when. Recent years melt together like a double-dip ice cream in the summertime, colliding and mixing together flavors of each…ice cream soup. To pinpoint specific meaningful events becomes harder. It is easier just to lump everything together and move into the new year without much fanfare.

Yet, the new year always brings hope with it. For some reason it seems a day filled with possibility. The truth is that every day of the year has just as much, but the first day of January begs us to start. Even if we have begun every year of our lives, we begin anew each January 1st.  Saying goodbye to the old year, starting fresh gives us a sense of enthusiasm.

Marking time is built into us and building memorials is an important practice. It holds space for our hardships and our joys. Anniversaries of loss or gain are both just as important for expressing remembrance or gratitude. String enough of these yearly remembrances together and you have a life. Looking over it annually is a wise way to see if course corrections are needed. Goals set. Resolutions made. Plans established.

However, the end of the year also reminds us of all we didn’t accomplish from the previous one. Promises broken. Plans derailed. Marks missed. For many, it is a depressing time of year. Failure speaks loudly in the ears of those who had a difficult year for one reason or another. Only hope can silence those voices.

I know so many people have had a challenging year. One of the toughest of their lives. They have persevered and continued to put one foot in front of the other, despite the hardship. They longingly look forward, hoping things will get better and their burdens will ease. It seems the world is weary. We are tired. Overwhelmed. And…hopeful.

Always burning within us is a spark of hope. The truth is, there is not a day which goes by that we cannot begin again. The breath of God blows the spark that is nearly out, into a burning flame. It is not merely one day a year set aside for hope, it is every single day. So, while I swim through my ice cream soup trying to sort out the past few years, I know hope still holds me firmly in his grasp. He will never let go, no matter if it is a hard year or a glorious one…or a mixture of both.

Christ in you, the hope of glory!

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