I hope that your Christmas was Christ-centered and joyous, and that you and yours are truly enjoying the blessings of the season!
53. That’s what this Sunday is; the 53rd (and final) Sunday of 2012. Like any year, 2012 has had its’ ups and downs, blessings and challenges. But saying that 2012 was “like” any year doesn’t mean that it wasn’t unique. There were many significant “one-time-only” events in this past year; some tragic, others joyous. This is true not just for us as a country and congregation, but for each of us as an individual.
Looking back on 2012, what were your blessings? Maybe at the time you didn’t even recognize it as a “blessing.” We typically think of James 4:13-17 when looking to the future. Contemplate this text:
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (James 4:13-17)
We, rightly so, look at the words, “If it is the Lord’s will…” (v. 15) and think of the future, our plans, etc. But pause for a moment and look back. For 2012, you and I had plans. Some of us may have taken the time to write out our goals, others only in the back of our minds had ideas of what we wanted to do (or avoid doing?). Perhaps we were wise enough to add the tag, “If it is the Lord’s will” – or maybe only reluctantly did we submit our plans to His. Regardless, take a few moments to reflect on 2012. One of the cool things about moving into the future is the ability to pause and look into the past. Maybe now you can look back and see the hand of God guiding, protecting, preventing and blessing your life as you pursued what you thought was a “pretty good plan” in life. Looking back, what might have been tragic at the time we now acknowledge has helped to develop our character. Events and occurrences that we enjoyed, we now recognize as the grace of God. Hopefully, with another year passing we have gained a little wisdom, insight into those things (that really aren’t “things”) that really matter, and appreciation of God’s grace to us. My prayer is that, as we enter 2013, our eyes are open to what the Lord has for us. Maybe this year we will recognize the blessings as they happen, not just in retrospect.