♣ Launching into the New
CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST over and many families are returning from being together to resume their usual routine. Christmas decorations and the warmth of the season’s colours are being enjoyed for the last few days. How empty, bare and dull things look when all is taken down that compensated for the leafless, colourless trees and the dormant flowers that shall not awaken until Spring; now we have to face the bleak grey winter alone. There is almost the sense of sad anticipation, but one thing we forget: the main reason as to why we celebrate Christmas is Christ Himself. He is the One that has brought us peace that began from the day of His incarnation and it will continue. Christmas is just the beginning. Easter – the Cross – is the answer to our present as well as the past and future. Christ is our Morning Star, the true Light and He is the One Who infuses the most beautiful colours imaginable in our lives and the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, is the One Who comforts like no other in all creation can.
Do not assume and judge the future by natural and feeble sense. There have been many fears that did not come to pass in 2014 and if some dark circumstance is to take place this coming 2015, the Shepherd has already gone before us and indeed shall be with us in the very thick of it. Grieving trials are never bad in the economy of God because He sanctifies them to us; they are our blessings, our jewels that will tell of what human language cannot explain. There is no horror that will consume us even though grey, dark and black clouds may make us feel cold, alone and abandoned. “Do not be afraid or let your heart be troubled” Jesus spoke to His disciples, who He was to leave very soon. That would have been the worst news their ears could have received, but the Comforter was soon to not only be with them but be in them; the best was yet to be. In context Christ spoke to their situation and if it covers such areas, then no doubt it covers every one of ours, no matter how small or big; Christ also says to us, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
We are loved beyond measure by God and our future is not left to fate but lies powerfully in His providence. God makes all the difference Who is to rule our thoughts and feelings rather than allowing them to dictate to us. Things may look bleak to how we are naturally inclined to view life itself, but then as the hymnist said, “Life is naught without Thee” – and it most certainly is nothing without God. How absurd to think we are free if the Bread of life does not nourish our souls; how blind we are if we state we can see if Christ is not our light; how we are captivated by living a lie if Christ Himself is not our Truth and how lost we are if Christ is not our Way.
Are we confident because we launch into the future of 2015 knowing what is going to happen, that plans of ours we have made are going to come to fruition, or we are trembling (for lack of trust in ourselves) and entrusting our lives to the One Who knows the way we are to take? Is it better to think we have sight from leaning upon our own understanding, or to trust wholeheartedly in God Who makes our paths straight? Are we better off in having the years circumstantial forecast mapped before our eyes, or are we more secure by placing our hand in the hand of God though our days before us are concealed?
When Christmas lights have gone, we have the One true Light Who is indeed a Lamp unto our path. Christmas does not come to an end; it is but the beginning; it is the torch for the New Year ahead. Christ, God-given to mankind, is the Gift that shall always be unsearchable; there will always be the wonder of God’s unspeakable Gift to us – “the unsearchable riches in Christ.”
The wonder is not in Christmas celebrations, the warmth of a fire, glittering lights, festive colours, choice foods, friends and family. All of these pass, but Christ remains; it is Him we celebrate and it is Him we worship. All these other enjoyments are but mere shadows; Christ is the substance, the essence of joy, peace, love and life. It all speaks of the new heaven and earth to come – God dwelling with man – where sadness, pain, sin and death shall no more be tasted. Oh, it all seems too good to be true to those who have heavy hearts; if only we could grasp it all with greater sense for it is a grander reality than we are naturally accustomed to feeling and seeing. May the Holy Spirit make eternity more real than the present and may 2015 be a year of burdens being lifted and the yoke of Christ more keenly felt in their place.