What a blessing this Advent-Christmas season has been! We have been blessed by the music of the season, the beauty of our sanctuary, and the praise, prayer, and fellowship we have shared one with another. Thank God for the gift of Jesus! That gift is still good news! No one among us knows what the next year will bring, so it is truly good news to know that in the face of uncertain futures, Jesus is within us, and we are His.
A new year affords us the opportunity to look back, reflect and give thanks. Together, we have looked for new ways to effectively care for others; we have studied, explored, and grown. We have shared the good news of hope and salvation with the community and world around us. Yet, so much remains to be done.
I encourage us to have a positive outlook for the New Year. There is so much to be thankful for! Let us carry into 2018 a renewed dedication, a deeper sense of purpose, a heartfelt eagerness to share our gifts, and a truly positive attitude. If we accept the axiom that negative thoughts produce negative actions, is it not also true that positive thoughts produce positive actions?
To be sure, everything will not flow perfectly for us in 2018, but as they say, a problem is sometimes just a blessing in disguise. Indeed, obstacles in our path can often be means for growth. As E. Stanley Jones once wrote, “When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.”
I pray for all of you a blessed 2018. Let’s expect the best, put our trust in God and make this corner of the planet a better place. I share a prayer for the New Year with you, written by Lee McGlone: Loving God, as we begin this cycle of years again, let each day belong to you. Let us look forward and not backward. May grace see us through; grant peace to our hearts, and courage your will to do. Give us gentle and kind spirits. In these days of terror and fear, we stand on your Word that is true; your strength our comfort still, your grace sure to see us through. Amen.
Grace and Peace, Joel
Pastor Joel Hawthorne