These were thoughts from a year ago on New Year’s Eve. I hope they will encourage you! (Previously published in Bret Legg’s blog ‘Normal Marriage’, December 31, 2017)
Just generally I am not in a hurry to put Christmas away. To me the season passes so quickly that I savor the days after Christmas and enjoy reflecting. Gods love, His care, my blessings, my family, the year that is winding down; all of these fill my heart as I look at the lights on our tree. And usually, I am excited at the prospect of the new year and what it brings. But if I am honest, this year I am feeling something different, something akin to fear.
At what other time of year are we so aware of the passing of time than while we count down to midnight on December 31st? This year I am keenly aware of all I did not know this time last year. Though I knew we were adding a new grand baby to our family ranks, I did not know she would require specialists and surgery and emotional strain for all of us, in addition to the joy she brought. I did not know that I would hurriedly pack a suitcase and make a middle of the night drive to stay with another grandchild in a town two hours away, while his sister was rushed to a major pediatric medical center in another city for emergency surgery. I did not know that I would pretty much desert my husband for a while to help out at the hospital with the newborn while her mother tended her other daughter, the recipient of that surgery.
As I looked at the Christmas lights at the close of the year, I had no way of knowing that four close family members would step out of this life and into the next so unexpectedly and seemingly tragically by my earthbound perspective. Each death unrelated to the other, and three coming in rapid succession. I didn’t know that a great deal of my year would be spent loving the people around me who were grieving so deeply. I didn’t know.
And so, I look at the lights this year, and feel hesitant about stepping forward into next year, like my hesitancy is going to keep time from advancing. If the year was so costly, how can I dive into another year and risk more pain? So I examine my choices. Hide out, refuse to take down the tree, and refuse to acknowledge the New Year? Will that stop anything? Will that cure my fear?
After sorting through all of these thoughts, here is where I land.
- When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3
- Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11