Not-So-Happy New Year

I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Eve and the ensuing celebrations around and about it. As a holiday that touts itself as being pregnant with promise and expectation, I have often felt that it’s just a point in the year to set yourself up for a whole array of unrealistic goals and targets that you’ve pretty much reneged on long before the end of January. That and the belief that this marker in time will indicate that fortune will somehow change when the cannons and fireworks boom have always left me feeling a bit cold.

Maybe I’m old enough now to realise that there are so few years that have lived up to the hype I’ve placed on them myself when January 1st rolls around…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been opportunistic too, even this year. I have set aside some books I want to read, thought about some health goals I have with diet and exercise, but I’m equally determined to remember that if everything goes pear shaped in the coming weeks, months, year, then there are other days just as important as January 1st where I can get up and start again.

And the truth is, for a lot of people it’s not a happy new year anyway.

For every overflowing champagne glass and ruddy faced smile in the cold as Big Ben struck midnight, there were still tears, and sadness and loss. There were mamas in hospitals with sick babies, there were spouses mourning an untimely winter death of the one they thought they had years left with, there were children hooked to drips in oncology wards. There were elderly alone, noone to check on them, noone to raise a glass with. There were unmarried girls hoping and wishing that this next year would be the year they meet their Prince Charming, there were sad people,frustrated people, desperate people…

It’s not a so happy new year when the chips are down and your situation is a barricade that only keeps you on your knees.

Maybe 2014 wasn’t so great for you. Maybe 2015 is a bleak and hazy future, loaded with uncertainty and the promise of strife. Maybe it’s just an empty void you’d rather not look too hard at anyway.

So let’s remember these few things.

God doesn’t need the promise of a new year to work

We can do away with unrealistic hope. God doesn’t need a bell at midnight to do something new or change a circumstance. When we trust more in a God who works outside of our limited understanding of time and space, we can help ourselves avoid the disappointments that come with putting our trust in the first month of a calendar year.

Psalm 90:4 says this: For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night 

Let’s set our eyes on Him, not on a set of digits.

Every day can be a new day with God

Sometimes it’s as well when we know our limitations. Setting lofty goals and having idealistic expectations at the start of a new year can be our very undoing. After all, whoever changed their life overnight?

When we lower the bar a little, we can achieve so much more. I remember one year a well-known High Street store ran a campaign at the start of a year called Change One Thing. Just one. Start with something realistic and possible. Changing everything at once is stressful and bound to lead to disappointment.

But if we focus on one thing at a time, then maybe we will feel less disheartened when things go wrong, or when we get off track.

One of my favourite verses is this from Lamentations 3:22-23: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

We have a God we can start each day anew with. If God’s mercies are new each day, then how much more should we put to sleep each slip up, mistake, failure? EVERY morning is a new chance, not just a groggy January 1st!

Wherever you are right now, God is right there too

God of all mercy

I started off by mentioning those who don’t just struggle to keep new year resolutions, but are starting this year with pain, loss, sadness…if that is you, then likely the rolling around of 2015 hasn’t magically made tragedy or despair exit your life. Sickness doesn’t pack its bags on December 31st. Loneliness doesn’t suddenly become a mere shadow.

There may be few people, friends, doctors, who can offer much hope for the coming year. But we have a God who is always there. He is in every situation. He knows every heartbreak and sadness. He is not distant to your loss or tragedy.

Psalm 34:18 tells us: The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

The troubles of the world are often heavy to bear, but Jesus knows your sorrow. He is near, and even if 2015 is a murky blot on the horizon, the Bible calls our God: the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. (2 Cor 1:3-5).

My prayer for you this year is this; whatever 2015 holds, you will truly know the God who draws near. Who is a God of comfort and compassion, not unfamiliar with our struggles, but holding all things together in ways we cannot see.

Grace and Love

Helen x

 

Linked with Cornerstone Confessions, Missional Women, Whole Hearted Home, Mom’s Morning Coffee, Time-Warp Wife, Purposeful Faith

Comments

  1. Really well said Helen. Such an important point. Summarised so well in those last two paragraphs. X Heather

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  2. Great post!!! Thank GOD that we have the chance to start fresh with HIM each day!

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  3. Wow! Exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve been struggling this new year with with the reality and heaviness of everyday life. It’s hard to feel joyous when life’s circumstances have weighed you down. But I am thankful that God is my hope, my refuge and in HIM all things are possible. Stopping by from Purposeful Faith and am now following you! Thanks for being a blessing.

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  4. Love the reminder that God doesn’t need a new year to move…he is always at work and we have the choice to join him at any point.

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  5. Helen, thank you for this. Yes, everyday can be a new day! Thank you Jesus. I need that. I don’t want to have so high hopes only to be sad if they don’t come true. The Lord knows. I appreciate your words greatly. Cheering you on!

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  6. Heather Hart says:

    Loved this post. I am so thankful His mercies are new every morning. This is the first year in a long time I’ve embraced the new year, however, it was less about it being a new year and more about God doing an amazing thing in my life that just happened to coincide with the turning of the calendar.

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