Blessed New Year!
Read Psalm 16. “In your presence there is fullness of joy, in your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11)
“Happy New Year!” is the greeting that typically rings out when the clock hands touch midnight on December 31. Unfortunately, the happiness we wish one another often tends to be elusive. I once asked a relative of mine if he was happy; and her response was, “I’m on the way.” Most of us would agree with that: we’re on the way, but haven’t arrived. Interestingly, the Declaration of Independence promises us, not happiness itself, but “the pursuit of happiness”. And sometimes happiness runs really fast, and we feel continually out there chasing happiness. Ultimately, the only genuine happiness is found in God. “In your presence there is fullness of joy, in your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11) God made us in His own image, so that we can live in His friendship and fellowship forever. The Christian happiness is well expressed in the great prayer of St. Augustine: “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they rest in Thee.” True happiness comes when God touches us and makes us His own. The question is why is it that many people today tend to be unhappy? On the surface, there seems to be no reason for unhappiness: we have more conveniences and affluence in our country than at any other time in history. Yet there is a discontent, maybe because of expectations for the future which fade away. For us believers, our hope for the future doesn’t fade. Because our hope ultimately doesn’t mean dreaming of more things, it means moving toward the wonderful future that God has planned for us. A future of walking with God every day in this life, and living with Him forever in eternity. As 2017 dawns near, we rejoice in God’s promise: “I have plans for you…to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11) Christians can also take comfort in one of the most beloved verses in the Bible: “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). God can bring a blessing out of our life’s situation. The Christian message gives our lives a deep sense of purpose: to live with God in a relationship of love in this life and the next. The love of Jesus gives our lives’ value: we are worth so much to Him that He shed His precious blood for us! The meaning of our lives is filled with God’s grace, when we think upon “the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). A “Happy New Year” does not consist in more possessions, more prosperity, and more choices. These things can bring discontents of their own. No, a “happy new year” is one in which we draw near to God who in Christ has drawn near to us. A happy New Year is one in which we keep our eyes focused upon Jesus Christ, who loves us, who died for us, who lives to pour God’s joy into our lives.
A close relationship with God is our happiness. May you truly have a happy new year! And even better a Blessed New Year, walking closer with God. Remember that God loves you and so do I! Pastor Lia Willetts