December 29, 2013
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8
Christmas is over, but the holiday season is not. New Year's, you see, is next Wednesday.
Ahh, New Year's. New Year's is the perfect time for us to begin again. New Year's is a time of reflection, resolution and recommitment. New Year's is the time of possibility, potential and promise. New Year's is a Wednesday off of work blessed by the fact we don't have to fight the crowds and run ourselves ragged to find the proper present for the relative who has everything.
Sadly, when we reach this Zen-like plan of New Year euphoria, reality spoils everything by rearing its all-too-honest head.
Resolutions? We know resolutions are a wonderful way to initiate the New Year, but reality says we don't usually keep our resolutions, and we'll finish 2014 pretty much the way we began 2014.
Reality says the human race is not so good at being powerfully charged self-made men and women. Not so long ago, a man brought his boss home for dinner. Like many people of authority, the boss was patronizing, pompous and pretentious! The little boy of the household, never having seen a man act in such a way, stared at the head honcho for almost the entire meal.
Finally, the boss stopped and asked, "Young man, why do you keep looking at me like that?"
The little boy shyly said, "My daddy says you are a self-made man."
The boss was pleased to hear someone else had recognized what he had known all along.
Then the little boy, quite innocently added, "Sir, I was wondering, if you are a self-made man, why did you make yourself like this?"
Why, indeed? Why do we as individuals, as communities, as countries, as the global human family do the things we do? Why have we made ourselves the way we are? Everything we want -- things like peace, hope, love, security -- always seem to be elusive. Maybe that's why 2014's arrival is being met with a dollop of hope and a mountain of fearful uncertainty?
We wonder at the end of 2014 will I have a job, or will I be waiting in the unemployment line? Will my investments pay off, or will my balance sheets be filled with red ink? Will my health hold, or will I get to know the first names of all the nurses and aides at the local hospital? When the family gathers together for Christmas 2014 will there be some empty chairs at the banquet table?
Faced with such uncertainty, it is right, proper and sensible for us to be turned to the Savior.
He who gave His life so we might have life is the only guarantee of hope and happiness we can count on.
Governments come and go; economies rise and fall; leaders are trusted, and then they show their flaws. But the Savior who showed God's commitment to us is always there. He is always reaching out, always by our side, always ready to listen, always ready to assure us that because of Him we have forgiveness, eternal life, and the peace for the living of each day in a new year.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, if it be possible, may this year be marked with peace and hope. Grant that individuals and nations may work together for harmony. And when we stumble, fall and sin, raise us up and allow us to trust in You for a blessed future. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries