The Christmas Season is over today for those folks who wait until the Feast of Three Kings or Orthodox Christmas to call it over. The New Years is well under way, and I suppose most of those well-meaning resolutions are already broken, or at least heading that way. As the year came to an end, there were a lot of Year-in-Review programs broadcast. Those programs told us what, from the broadcaster’s perspective, happened in 2016 that we should remember. Some bloggers wrote their own Year-in-Review, too. From them we learned the specific events they’ll remember.
As for me, I’d like to simply let 2016 drift off into some unused and uncalled-on place in my grey matter—my brain. Too much political strife nationally, globally, global conflict that while not reaching me directly, impacts my physical space. And of those people I know, too many suffered illness themselves and within their families. Some, too, lost family to the sleep of death.
Perhaps there’s hope in the New Year. On its Eve, I found myself at a wedding. Along with a hundred or so other folks, we joined the newly weds in welcoming in the New Year. In ringing in this year, I wonder if we hope for a “reset,” as if this were a game that we could simply reset the board and start over. Maybe we can. But I think we all share a certain trepidation about the coming year—the conflict and strife hasn’t resolved itself; lots of vocal people want change; a radical Middle Eastern agenda still seeks to dominate the whole world with its brand of chaos and violence. America’s political right thinks it won; America’s political left won’t bend to the will of the majority, disputing even that claim.
It’s been a couple thousand years since Y’shuaJesus pointed out that the beautiful Temple in Jerusalem, Holy to the people of Israel, would fall to the ground, no stone being left untouched. Y’shuaJesus didn’t say things would get better, but worse. Rather than His closest followers accusing Him of being a killjoy, they looked beyond the perils ahead, and asked:
Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? (Matthew 24:3)
We can try to ignore what is ahead, or we can stress ourselves out with the dread what is in store. Is ignoring the world a good choice? And what about fearing, dreading the New Year? Is that better? We don’t know what’s ahead. We can dread one thing only to have something else happen. Or nothing at all. What’s the answer. As always, it’s the same answer to all questions we may have. Y’shuaJesus. We can look well beyond what may or may not happen in 2017 to the One Who holds the Keys to the Kingdom of G-d, and to Eternal Life in that Kingdom. We can read the answer to the question the disciples asked, recorded in the Book of Matthew. We can ask the Lord what it means to us, specifically.
Once we do that, we’ll see the hope that is to come. We’ll see beyond 2017 to times that will be worse. In doing so, we’ll also discover the assurance of Messiah’s Coming. Then we can look more rationally at 2017 and seek a plan from which we can live in the meantime.