The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126: 3
Happy New Year! If you’re like me, you’re still feeling the afterglow of Christmas! Was it not such a wonderful time with family and friends, and as for me, I wasn’t ready for it to end! What gifts God has given us of these special times together with those most dear to us.
It was so hard to say goodbye to those we don’t get to see very often, and how I am going to miss the Christmas tree lights, the decorations and candles, those favorite carols I love to hear and sing, the smells of hot cider and good foods, and even the presents under the tree. But there is much more if we truly know God and His Son. For Christmas is the celebration of His love for us in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to earth with His saving grace. And in celebrating His love for us, how that love flows out to others!
But for now Christmas is over and we have packed it all away until next year, and the beautiful reminder of God’s love for us has been tucked away, as well. If only it could live on in our hearts and we could continue to feel the same joy and gratitude for the goodness of life. If only we could continue to be in awe of our amazing God and the great things He has done for us.
Last night as I was thinking about 2013 and the new year beginning, I couldn’t help but think about my family and what a blessed year we all have had. I began thinking about what I would wish for them in the coming year – definitely good health, much happiness, peace, feelings of accomplishment and pride in the things they do, close friendships, and especially much love. But I also would wish for them to be able to see God in the small, simple and magnificent ways that He shows Himself to us each and every day – in the people we meet, in the places we go, and in everything around us as we go through our busy days filled with so many distractions. I want each of us to look for Him, to come to know Him more, to marvel at His goodness to us, to give Him much praise for His love and grace, and to honor Him with our lives. He deserves no less.
What love He has for us. How can we even begin to understand it, acknowledge it or appreciate it enough? We can be completely immersed in it with all His goodness surrounding us, and still it is just unfathomable for us to comprehend. It is a love so boundless and unconditional – not based in any way on our worthiness or our character. It is the deepest of affections, a desire to show the depth of His feeling, a loving commitment to be faithful to us, coupled with His tender mercy and compassion.
How amazing it is that He considers each one of us with such fondness and delight, and longs to fill us with His joy. May this new year bring a commitment in our hearts to truly seek Him and live in His loving presence always.
Our most gracious and loving Father, our hearts are humbled and grateful as we begin the new year with the knowledge that you love us so much that you would send your Son with His saving grace. We thank you for the many blessings of life, for your presence with us, and for the joy that a life with you can bring. Be with us in the coming year and open our hearts in a way that brings us closer to you. Amen