Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year

Another year has come and gone and given that it has seen the death of my father in June and my mother-in-law on Christmas Day I can't lie and say I am sad to see it go. But neither can I say with any certainty that I am looking forward to the New Year. In fact I am honestly a little wary. For if I say that surely it's bound to be better than last year I catch myself pulling back from making such a positive statement. Why? Is it because by making a statement I am in some way 'jinxing' 2010 or 'tempting fate'? But that sounds so superstitious and I am decidedly not superstitious. When I break a mirror for example it does not bother me in the slightest. And if you warn me not to walk under a ladder or put up an umbrella indoors I will immediately do exactly those things that others find so dangerous. So why the hesitancy about making too overly optimistic statements about next year?

It could be that I am wary of being overconfident about a future I have no control over. 2010 is after all an "unknown country" to borrow a phrase from Walt Whitman. Only God knows what it will bring and so I will not presume to speak with any authority about that of which I know nothing. All I can do is humbly hope that it will be better than last year. The only confidence I can possible have about the New Year is that God will be with me. It maybe that I have reached an age where I remember being confident about 2009 and we all know how misplaced that optimism was.

But if it is presumption to be optimistic, it is also un-Christian to be pessimistic. We need to have hope. Dostoevsky once wrote that to "to live without hope is to cease to live." It is an important part of our human makeup to always live in hope of a better future. Its in our DNA, placed there by God. A faint echo of His promises that He will one day make a new heaven and earth (Revelation 21 etc) and usher in finally the fulness of His kingdom. That may indeed be next year, but if it isn't it is certainly coming.

So here is to the New Year. My hope and prayer is that it will be better in the sense that our family will have a rest from grief and we will all be able to see a little more of the "life in all its fuilness" promised by Jesus. And if anyone is reading this blog, may I wish you and yours all the riches of God's grace.

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