Another year comes to a close and another year begins. I know it's just numbers on a calendar. It'll take some time to get used to writing 2023 instead of 2022, but not much else will change in my day-to-day life when December 31 turns over to January 1. However, there is something refreshing about starting a new year. It's like a clean slate, a fresh start, a new door to open. We may wonder what new adventures and opportunities the new year will bring. We may wonder what challenges we will face too.
I think there are a lot of ways we can approach a new year, but my prayer is that we look at it with an unfailing hope. 1 Corinthians 13 talks about the difference love makes. You know…the "love is patient, love is kind" one that's really popular at weddings. In that section is a little phrase that is easy to pass over. Verse 7 (emphasis mine) says, "[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." Paul was not talking about the love between spouses (although it certainly applies!). He was talking about the difference it makes when the love of God fills and shapes our lives.
Believers of Jesus Christ, we know this love of God! I believe this love of God gives us a kind of superpower, like the power to always hope. I know there are so many reasons to look at the new year through a negative lens. War, natural disasters, diseases, financial challenges, increased societal anxiety. But we have one reason to always hope--God has sent his son into the world to be made incarnate and walk among us. That means love has come and the Kingdom of God is already here. Of course it's not finished, but right now we know God's plan and presence is spreading through all the pain, the difficulty, the fear, the anxiety, the societal challenges we face--God's goodness is shining through. That's worth being relentlessly hopeful.
This year I want to be a person of relentless hope because of the love of God. I want to nurture my soul with constant reminders of God's love. I want to believe that there's no darkness in this world too great for God's love to shine. I want God's love in me to always hope. Who's with me?