Well, 2015 is here at long last! Its arrival is something that’s been spoken about, referred to, anticipated, dreaded by some, longed for by others, but no matter how we’ve approached it, the fact of the matter is it’s here now!
The question I’ve been asking myself is, ‘how do you communicate all that you want for people in this New Year?’ Most folk will say ‘a good New Year to you’, and I understand that and probably agree with it in principle, but I immediately think, ‘will everything be ‘good’ this year? Remember Job who had an awful year at one time and yet he said ‘Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. (Job 2:10 NIV). Is it right to wish only what we would call ‘good’ for others or ourselves for that matter when God may have other ideas in mind and in his will. All things work together for good to those who love Jesus and that is a great comfort and hope to focus on of course, but is that the right thing to say?
Others say ‘a happy New Year to you’, and I again agree with that in principle, but is being happy all the time the key to a life that we want for others or ourselves? The psalms contain a breadth of human experience and emotion ranging from despondency in Ps 10:1 (why do you stand afar off my God, why hide yourself in times of trouble?’) to delight in Ps 122:1 (I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’), and this teaches us that there is a spectrum of emotions and experiences which when woven together make our lives the complexity and reality of what they are. Knowing and having Jesus as Lord and Saviour never means happiness will be always in our hearts or homes. In fact often the times when we feel despondent are the very times the Lord uses to make known his comfort and consolation which are very precious and which, as a result, our joy is more intense. So ‘happy New Year’ doesn’t quite capture it either.
I do think what encapsulates our desire for one another is found in the phrase ‘a blessed New Year’. This is the wish to see God’s hand upon our lives. Nehemiah spoke of ‘the good hand of the Lord upon him’ (Neh 2:8) to describe God’s progressing and prospering his plans for God’s glory. Wishing God’s blessing on our lives is surely what will do us good no matter what, and bring us happiness ultimately whatever comes our way. Hebrews 1:3 says ‘the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word’. The word ‘sustaining’ translates the word from which we get the word ‘ferry’. Jesus is the ferry-man whose hand is on the tiller of our lives, directing, navigating, supporting and upholding us through all of life’s circumstances. That is what we want for one and all. The good hand of the Lord to be upon us all to save and direct and support.
So may you all have a blessed 2015, looking to and relying on Jesus our ferry-man every day.
Your friend and pastor
Rev Colin MacLeod