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Lorna Johnston /Monday, December 13, 2021

 

I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. If feels like there is more space in this time than almost any other week of the year. Time to stop. Time to think. Time to reflect. Time to anticipate.

One of the things I like to do during this time is hang up the fresh new calendar for the coming year and take down the somewhat tattered one as the current year gasps its last breaths.

The 2021 calendar has taken quite a beating, hasn’t it? At the end of 2020, flipping the page to January 2021 was full of anticipation. Surely this year will be easier. Surely the pandemic will wind down. Surely we can anticipate a return to ‘normal’…

But putting the calendar up is really an act of faith. How could we know in late December 2020 what was to come in the days ahead?

  • The pandemic continued … to this day. New mandates, new variants, ‘new normals’.
  • Then we picked up new vocabulary—'Heat dome’—as the thermometer topped 40°C (104°F) for several days. Suffering through miserable heat and a rising death toll. Loss and sorrow.
  • Heat was followed by horrible forest fires—one of the worst years on record in BC. Whole communities wiped out in minutes as fire rampaged through. Lives upturned with loss and sorrow.
  • Then this fall we learned more new vocabulary— ‘Atmospheric river’—as incessant torrents of rain fell, wiping out previous rainfall records and whole communities with equal ease. More devastation; more loss and sorrow.

Putting the calendar up really is an act of faith, isn’t it? What will 2022 bring?

As Christ-followers, we have a choice to make as we face the future full of unknowns.

Scripture tells us that all creation is groaning … we’ve certainly experienced that this year! But Scripture also tells us that nothing will separate us from God’s love! And we are promised that the Spirit helps us in our weakness. This has certainly been a year to expose our weaknesses!

So, what is the choice we face?

I believe that we can choose to enter the future with our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus Christ and his redemptive purposes in this world. We can trust in his unfailing love, his empowering presence, and his invitation to join him in his mission.

We can choose to enter the year filled with courage and anticipation at what lies ahead. God is at work in our world, and we are invited to join him! We can live as people of hope and courage and purpose, despite our circumstances.

Or we can choose to enter the future with eyes on the instability, the turmoil, the unknown. Our hearts will fill with fear, and we will become paralyzed into inactivity.

Why don’t you take some of the extra space of this ‘week between’ to meditate on Romans 8?

  1. Ask God where there is fear in your heart.
  2. Ask God to show you his purposes for your days.
  3. Ask God to fill you with hope and courage as you enter 2022.

Lorna Johnston is the Diaspora Ministries Leader at Outreach Canada. She leads two national teams--Loving Muslims Together (LMT) and Simply Mobilizing Canada (SMC). She works with teams of diverse and experienced leaders and ministries across Canada to alert and activate the church in Canada to the changing opportunities to engage God's mission right here in Canada.



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