What a year it has been…

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you!

I do not know how you are feeling at moment, but I know there are many emotions that people are experiencing. Many spent Christmas on their own this year, many have lost jobs, livelihoods, and many are dealing with overwhelming  grief. As I spent time with the Lord on Christmas Day, my heart was heavy with sadness for the people who had lost so much this year. For those who had lost their hope and their joy and for those who knew great darkness in their life. As I was reflecting over scripture of the birth of Jesus, I spent time praying the hope, truth, light, and salvation of Jesus over their lives. Even in the darkness of this year, Jesus is and continues to be the Saviour of the world. As I reflected on Jesus in the manger this year, I found it quite emotional. I ended up writing in my gratitude’s; thank you Jesus, my Saviour, and the Saviour of the world. Thank you that in 2020, your light still overcomes the darkness. Thank you for your hope, salvation, and redemption. Thank you for knowing what it is to be human. You know hurt, joy, laughter, grief, and death. Thank you for being a God who came after His people when they felt abandoned. Thank you, you are still a God who pursues His people today.

For this final blog of the year, let us spend it in gratitude and thankfulness.

Some of you reading this may be a little sceptical about being grateful or thankful for this year. Which is totally understandable. I am living in the UK and we are currently in Tier 4 which is pretty much the same as lockdown. This is the third Lockdown of the year; we seem to come out of lockdown only to go back into another. We now have these new variants of the coronavirus which are becoming more widespread throughout more and more countries. It does not look like a happy new year we will be going into it. It looks like we will be dealing with a lot of similar problems we dealt with this year. Many of us miss family and friends we have not seen in a while. Many of us just miss the way life used to be. While 2020 is not a year we can simply brush under the carpet and move onto the next, may we take some time to find hope to bring into the new year with us.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. (Habakkuk 3v17-19)

We may not have seen a lot of things blossom this year. We may be seeing no fruit. Look at us still standing and look at where that strength has come from. Our Mighty and Everlasting God. When everything seems to have fallen down around us. God’s goodness and grace has given us the strength to be able to see beauty and hope even on the darkest day. Even if it was just the smallest glimpse. He is a God who enables us to praise Him and rest in Him even when we are giving up, He enables us to see purpose and gives us the strength to keep going. We may be struggling with praise because we have lost so much. However, we have not lost the faithfulness and goodness of a God who pursues us and protects us. Ultimately, life will leave us feeling defeated, but God will always bring life and light even into the darkest situations. It is not foolish to look for better days to come because everything will work out for God’s good will. We will have to endure the hardship in order to see the goodness.

Sometimes it is all in the waiting…

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. (Psalm 40v1-3)

In reflecting on this verse, it would be incredible to hear the hymns rising from the lips of people this year. It would be hymns full of emotion, but they would truly show the faithfulness and goodness of our God; in the midst of such a bleak year. In hearing the hymns many of us would not feel so alone as we would relate to struggles and challenges other people have been dealing with. It would be such a testimony of how we can trust in God, when all else has failed He has remained faithful to lead us through.

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice the earth is full of his unfailing love. (Psalm 33v4-5)

I leave you with an exercise I will do before the New Year. Take time to write a letter to God about all you have been through together this year. The reflection may be challenging, but it should be a blessing too. As you take time to write, it will give opportunity to see God’s faithfulness and answer to prayer. For those of you who may have seen this year as meaningless, I pray it will bring light and hope.

Although this new year may not be all you desire it to be. May you know the hope of the Lord with you. With the Lord all things are possible, even when life may feel utterly against you. May you keep a prayerful heart and a faithful spirit. Keep your eyes open to see his goodness and beauty in each day that follows.

I will be praying for all my readers, as we go into the New Year. I hope you will all take time to reflect on the year. You may feel like your reality is similar to what we read in Habakkuk, may that not dim your faith in our all-powerful God.

God bless you and keep you, love Victoria. xx

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23v6)  

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