Brian Underwood: Promises that make every day New Year’s Day

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You might say we’re somewhere in between right now, in that contemplative space betwixt a miracle and the hope that comes with it.

Candles lighting Silent Night have been stowed for another year, gifts have been exchanged, and warm meals have been enjoyed. At least for a fortunate few.

Still yet ahead, though, is the hope that comes with the miracle, that which many attach to the promises of a new year, and things better.

A calendar is, to be sure, an important roadmap to help us navigate day-to-day life, and beginning Jan. 1, we will, indeed, turn the page to a new chapter in our lives.

For many, New Year’s Day is an annual rite that comes with a lot of unwitting pressure. It represents the prayer of leaving broken dreams, promises, and just plain brokenness behind in the hope of something better.

That’s a lot of power being given to one day. Conversely, the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ says we don’t have to live on this tightrope.

Without question, we will fall because we come after the great fall in the garden, but we have been redeemed through the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, who came to set us free.

A great daily reminder of this hope comes from Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Consider the added emphasis God uses here to share his promises. His love never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, and they are new every morning. These absolutes give us not just hope but assurance – every day.

We, God’s beloved children, are not beholden to a calendar for hope because in turning our eyes to Jesus we stare renewal in the face every morning. It’s not an annual prayer for possibilities but rather a daily promise of power in God’s grace.

A favorite worship song of mine is “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less,” written by Edward Mote and William B. Bradbury. It speaks to the hope we have in Jesus, his absolute love, and his irrevocable promises, especially in difficult times, as written in verse 2.

When darkness hides His lovely face

I rest on His unchanging grace

In every high and stormy gale

My anchor holds within the veil

A former colleague of mine used to say that “You can never underestimate how much pain there is in the world.” This is very true, and it gives all the credence in the world to resting in – and giving – God’s grace, every day.

For some, 2019 was a banner year, for others not so much. I would suspect for most, though, it was somewhere in the middle, which brings us back to where we find ourselves today, between the miracle of Jesus’ birth and the promises that comes with it.

Calendars are useful tools to help us navigate our time, but they don’t come with any certainty, just opportunity, such as the chance we have, today, to cast our cares, worries, and desires on Jesus. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.

Brian Underwood is director of school development at Sierra Lutheran.


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