A NEW YEAR is under way, and the cycle of seasons begins again. Summer will soon turn to Autumn, followed by winter's cold, which gives way to the newness of spring, until we find ourselves beginning summer - facing Christmas again. A great thing about a new year is the sense of starting with a clean slate. A full year of new opportunities awaits, and expectations are refreshed. Perhaps a clean diary reminds that there is much empty space to fill; the wonder of what is to come impregnates our thinking.
Unfortunately, when end-of-year comes around, we often find ourselves confronting many of the same issues: misspent time, things we never got around to, dashed hopes, and the sense that we really are following a cycle of hope, then despair - a type of summer and winter in our personal lives.
Scripture reminds us that we are not condemned to follow cycles of living. Of course, we are to recognise the seasons - both of the year and of life - as a natural part of life. But history itself is not one repeated cycle. Scripture points us onward and upward to a positive conclusion, reminding us that each year is one step closer to the culmination of history, and to the ultimate fulfilment of the purposes of God, and that each year brings something new.
As a church, let us look forward with hope and determination to move forward in God's story (history), seeking to grasp the new opportunities which will inevitably come. And let's also seek to encourage and support one another individually on the same journey. And let's be sure to undergird everything in prayer, that we might know God's power and guidance.
January 29, 1995