Old and New and All Our Days: Emmanuel

December 31st. Depending on which part of Adonai’s world you inhabit, it is known as “Old Year’s Day” or “New Year’s Eve.” Years ago, I realized that the name I give to the day can provide a different focus. “Old Year’s Day” can engender a focus on the current year with all that made it what it was; it can also prompt expressions of gratitude as I recognize that God brought me through challenges and blessed me richly. “New Year’s Eve” can generate a focus on the coming year and the dreams, hopes, plans, and even uncertainties I may have about the future. I see value in calling the day both “Old Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.” Doing so reminds me that God inhabits my past, present, and future. That, EmmanuelGod with us, is not solely a Christmas promise.  I have His promise to never leave me, never forsake me; He is with me whether or not I feel that He is present. The same is true for you. He is with you.

Dread of the new year can creep in when I see the new year only as 365 more days of the mundane. As holding at least 365 opportunities to make mistakes, etc. Focus matters. Without question, the new year will have challenges. That is life. As in previous years, there will be days, weeks, even months when it seems that my sanity and survival require me to pray every hour. There will be seasons when I stumble more that I stride. But there will also be moments of joy, and wonder, and the satisfaction of tasks well done.  Moments when I have the privilege of being part of someone’s healing and having someone be part of mine. Moments of extending and receiving grace. Moments when hope seems futile and moments of restored hope. Moments of chaos and pain and moments of clarity and peace. Moments of bone weariness and moments of renewed strength. Moments of relational rupture and moments of restoration and deep connection. Moments of resting in sunshine, the warmth of the sun feeling like a soft kiss. Moments when all the world seems gray and wet. Moments when I receive forgiveness and am enabled to forgive.  Moments of learning more about my heavenly Father and, as a result, learning more about who I am in Him.

Thankfully, all of these moments are in the hand of the Eternal One. The One who neither sleeps or slumbers. The One whose eyes are on the righteous and His ears open to our cry. The One who loves us with an everlasting love and draws us with lovingkindness. The One who is full of compassion and abundant in loyal love and truth. The One who is Almighty and omnipresent and invites us to come boldly to His throne of grace and find help in the time of need. The One who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we can ask of think. “Old Year’s Day,” “New Year’s Eve,” and all our days, Emmanuel.  May you experience prosperity as the Eternal God defines it, in every area of your life in 2019.

NB: Versions of this post were published on December 31, 2013 and 2017.

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Breath

breath

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” Genesis 2:7, NKJV). Breath. The difference between life and death.

When in a resting state, an adult takes 12 to 20 breaths per minute. Sometimes, however, even when we are breathing normally physically, life experiences, like a blow to the solar plexus, leave us struggling to catch our breath emotionally and mentally. To be in such a place during the Advent season when many are caught up in preparations for Christmas, can exacerbate the struggle to breathe. There is only One who can restore our breath. The same One who “breathed the breath of life” into Adam. This is a promise of Emmanuel, “God with us.” He is with us to heal us and restore what we need to live again.

breath (3)

Hope

The world waits for a miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel
A child prays for peace on Earth
And she’s calling out from a sea of hurt
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel

The lyrics above are from the song, “Light of The World,” by Lauren Daigle, Paul Duncan, and Paul Mabury. May you be encouraged as you listen, even if you have heard the song before. May we find comfort in the truth that because of Jesus, the Light of the World, we are never without hope. May we set our hope in God (Psalm 78:7, NKJV).