Some of us look ahead in anticipation, full of plans and hopes and bright thoughts.  We expect to read new books, see new places, make new friends. There are those, however, who look at the empty places on the calendar with weariness. This year drawing to a close has been a hard one, draining hope dry. How can we plan for a new year when we feel stuck in the old?

 

“Why go I mourning?” (Psalm 42:9).

“Canst thou answer this, believer? Canst thou find any reason why thou art so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told thee that the night would never end in day? Who told thee that the winter of thy discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair?
Knowest thou not that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope thou then! Hope thou ever! for God fails thee not.”
–C. H. Spurgeon

As the year barrels on toward its end, boxes of ornaments and Christmas plates and ribbon and wrappings packed away to garages and attics ’round the world, we look toward the coming year.  It is even better than Anne concluded–“a new day with no mistakes in it yet”; it’s an entire year with no mistakes in it, yet. Hallelu!

Some of us look ahead in anticipation, full of plans and hopes and bright thoughts.  We expect to read new books, see new places, make new friends.  Or we plan to deepen long-kept relationships, lose some weight, redecorate our houses.  The new year beckons with its empty planner pages, an invitation to hope.

There are those, however, who look at the empty places on the calendar with weariness. This year drawing to a close has been a hard one, draining hope dry.  Perhaps there are relationships that have come to an end, through death literal or figurative.  Perhaps financial burdens have escalated to a point of impossibility.  Dreams of ministry may have fallen flat.  Children may be taking paths that plunge knives deep into a mama’s heart.  And those empty pages mock us with their very emptiness, threatening to stay empty, to empty us.

There are those, however, who look at the empty places on the calendar with weariness. This year drawing to a close has been a hard one, draining hope dry. Sweet one, can I ask you to look away from despair for a moment? Or maybe you wouldn't characterize your feeling as being nearly that dark; in that case, may I call you from even your weariness, the exhaustion that comes with simply living a poured-out-life well?

The enemy, he has a plan for your life, too.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy …” John 10:10 (NASB)

Sweet one, can I ask you to look away from despair for a moment?  Or maybe you wouldn’t characterize your feeling as being nearly that dark; in that case, may I call you from even your weariness, the exhaustion that comes with simply living a poured-out-life well?

” … I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” John 10:10.

Jesus came–Christmas, Himself!–so that you might have life.

Who told you that “the night would never end in day,” indeed? Such dire, hopeless thoughts could only originate in one place, and it’s certainly not the heart of God.

Look up.  Remind your soul that Jesus is Life, Himself.  He is Light.  He is abundance and peace and joy and hope, and He will carry you through all you can’t see ahead.  Take a deep breath and remind yourself of the lessons of the very world around us …

“Knowest thou not that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope thou then! Hope thou ever! for God fails thee not.”

God fails thee not.  He has come to bring abundant life.  It’s a promise you can bring to a new calendar, write it out over all the empty days like a plan, because it’s the one He is writing even now for you …

Abundant life.

 

Sally Clarkson has great reminders today about how it’s necessary to slow and even stop before we can move forward. For more great questions to ask yourself as you’re considering New Year’s resolutions, see Tsh Oxenreiders’ article. 

How are you planning for abundant life in the new year?  I’d love to hear about it!

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