As I begin to write this article, I just typed 2016 for the first time. Wow, 2016. Remember Y2K? The years have certainly seemed to fly by, haven’t they?
New years are intriguing things, aren’t they? On the one hand, it’s just another year, January 1st is just the next day after December 31st, and pretty much things are the same on the 1st as they were on the 31st. But on the other hand, we have so much optimism, and so many possibilities.
The new year brings with it the idea that things can be different, that things can change. So we make New Year’s Resolutions–we resolve to change something about ourselves, or we resolve to do something different with ourselves. We will at the very least strive to be better, to be healthier, to be smarter, to be more frugal and less wasteful, to be more proactive and less reactive.
We see the new year as an opportunity to correct mistakes, make new plans, make bold changes.We dream new dreams, hope new hopes, plan new plans. The New Year becomes the bearer of new ideas and new ideals, new visions and new missions. We look at the coming year, and we say to ourselves, this will be the year.
Very few folks look at the new year and say, well, this year will be just a carbon copy of last year. We don’t want just a repeat of the past, we want the possibility of something, well, new.
A lot of which are good things to think come January 1. It is good to dream new dreams and hope new hopes, and make new plans and envision new things. It is a great thing to strive to be better than we were before, to excel at something new, to improve something old, to become more committed, more focused, more devoted. As human beings, we were made to grow, and change, and improve, and flourish.
God has made us people who seek to be more than we were, who seek to be better than we were. God made us to grow, and evolve, and change. God loves it when we dream, and vision, and make plans. God calls us to hope. God calls us to strive. God calls us to go forward. God calls us to excel. God calls us to be new.
But more than calling us, more than encouraging us, God goes with us. God goes with us into the new year. God goes with us into the new future. God goes with us as we dream, and plan, and hope, and grow, and change. God rejoices when we embrace the life God has given us, and God rejoices when we live that life to the fullest. God rejoices when we dream new dreams and seek new horizons. God rejoices when we grow in love, and grow in faith, and grow in service.
God dreams with us, and God plans with us. God hopes with us, and God strives with us. God makes us new every day, and God delights in us as we embrace that making new as a gift, and as a challenge, as an opportunity and as a blessing.
We are not meant to be people locked into the past, lost in the way things were. We are not meant to be people who refuse to change, who fear the new, who can’t, or won’t dream and vision. We are not meant to be people who stay in the past out of fear of the future, who hide the known out of fear of the unknown.
The past is a gift to us, a gift that teaches us,and inspires us, a gift that says to us, this is what you once did, now, what else can you do? The past is to be honored and celebrated, but never clung to. The past is like the future in that both call us to go forward.
The New Year is a time to see the future going out before us, and it is a time to say, let us go joyfully into that future, blessed by the wisdom and gifts of what has come before. Let us go forward into the future with confidence, because God goes with us.
God is not a God of the past. God is a God of the present, and God is a God of the future. God is going ahead of us, God is walking with us, God leads us and God guides us, forward, ever forward, into a new year, into a new future, into new opportunities, into new hopes and new possibilities, into new dreams and new visions.
As we enter into 2016, we give thanks for all that has come before, and we give thanks for all that is to come. May this New Year, 2016, be a time of great blessing for you all. May it be a year filled with joy and peace, good health and great happiness. May God walk with you and be with you,guide you and teach you, bless you and keep you. Happy New Year!!!
Pr. Paul