A funny thing happened at my church last Sunday. A computer glitch prevented the words from the praise songs to appear on the screen in front of the worship center, so everyone in the congregation turned to read the words on the screen on the back wall. The screen usually seen only by the worship team.
I had slipped into the restroom just before the service, so imagine my surprise when I came in a back door to find that the whole congregation was facing backward…and seeing me walk in! Families arriving late who thought they were sneaking into the back of the church were similarly surprised.
We all had a good laugh about the computer glitch and the creative solution, but later I thought, “What an appropriate way to worship God on the last Sunday of the year: looking back with praise to Him for all He did and all He brought us through.”
The challenge is to look back this time of year without getting stuck in the past. We need to look back to remember the good and the bad, and the way our lives were protected and directed by God. We need to look back to decide what, if anything, is worth carrying with us into the next year. What relationships, what goals, what challenges? But then it’s time to turn all the way around, face the future, and move into the new year with confidence that He who got us this far won’t abandon us now.
Sometimes we know what the next year will bring. Graduations are on the books. Plans for a June wedding are in place. A move or a new job is in the wind. An elective surgery is scheduled. A vacation deposit is made. But more often we aren’t sure what will happen between the sunrises and sunsets of the days that make up the year to come.
So much uncertainty can be unsettling. Then we remember that God said, “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6). And so we trust. We turn to face the new year head on, full of confidence and belief not in ourselves, but in the One who loves us, holds our days in His hands, and promises us eternal life through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
May God bless and keep you in 2016. Happy New Year!