It’s that funny week we have every year when we’re not sure what day it is and there’s nothing much going on. The TV is full of films and the odd ‘Christmas Special’, and we might be asking each other “What are you doing for New Year?”.
As we think about what happened in 2016 and what 2017 might be like it can seem very frightening. 2016 was full of wars, political upheavals and celebrity deaths (Even over Christmas we lost Rick Parfitt, George Michael and Carrie Fisher). We got Brexit and Donald Trump, we have millions of refugees and no-one knows when there might be an end to the wars in the Middle East or the terrorism in Europe, Africa and Pakistan. It’s no surprise that people are anxious about the future and don’t feel like celebrating on New Year’s Eve.
However, as Christians we have a hope that goes beyond the things we can see and hear on the news. We have a God who doesn’t change and who promises to be with us. The news does report the spreading of the gospel in the Middle East or the millions of daily interactions God has with his people through the Holy Spirit active on the earth. They don’t report how Jesus is interceding for us at the right hand of the Father’s throne. But despite all we hear in the news or don’t – God is a God that keeps his promises. In these times of uncertainty, we have to hold on to His words and not let ourselves get caught up in the panic of the world’s view.
Isaiah 41:10 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Don’t worry—I am with you.
Don’t be afraid—I am your God.
I will make you strong and help you.
I will support you with my right hand that brings victory.
I hope these verses will encourage you this New Year. 2017 might bring worse news or better news. We cannot know. But our Father in heaven, our saviour Jesus and the Holy Spirit are who we worship and who we have put our faith in. If you haven’t and you are reading this, then please investigate more. Read one of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John and see who this Jesus is. He is God made flesh. He came to show us what the Father is like. If we know Jesus and put our faith in Him, then we know the Father. We couldn’t have anything better in our lives. I hope you find that truth in your life. Here is one of his promises that always gives me hope, no matter what the future looks like in this world.
Micah 7:18-20The Message (MSG)
Where is the god who can compare with you—
wiping the slate clean of guilt,
Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear,
to the past sins of your purged and precious people?
You don’t nurse your anger and don’t stay angry long,
for mercy is your specialty. That’s what you love most.
And compassion is on its way to us.
You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing.
You’ll sink our sins
to the bottom of the ocean.
You’ll stay true to your word to Father Jacob
and continue the compassion you showed Grandfather Abraham—
Everything you promised our ancestors
from a long time ago.