I am sitting at my desk, less than five hours from the turning of the calendar to 2018. Wow! In many ways 2017 was one of the toughest years I’ve endured; but it has also proven to be one of the most significant.
I have always loved New Year’s Eve; not for the parties nor the celebrations, but for the fresh start. It is a time when we have the opportunity to turn the page and start over with those goals that we fell just a bit short of. We have a new year during which it seems all things are possible – and indeed they are.
New Year’s resolutions (I prefer to use the term goals) are wonderful symbols of the enduring hope that exists in the hearts of us all. We know why we fell short last year, and we know that, odds are, nothing is truly going to be different after the clock strikes midnight – but we believe in possibility.
I have goals for 2018 – some personal and some professional. At the top of the list stands my desire to do what God wants me to do. This is not something I always succeed at, but my hope endures.
2017 was a monumental year for me. I had successes, both personal and professional. I had some failures too. Overshadowing everything else this year was my daddy passing away. This was devastating to me and knocked me flat to the ground. I wasn’t down for long, though, because my Lord picked me back up.
God showed me that He would always hold true to His promise that He would never leave me (the same promise He makes to all His children). He was by my side – and indeed by the side of my entire family – during this most difficult time. To know and feel the comforting presence of the Lord walking beside you in times of despair is an experience that I am unqualified to describe in words.
God showed me that by just trusting Him, I could get through anything. Like Abraham trusting he would have a son, even when the world would have told him it was too late, those who place their faith in God will never be disappointed.
The dawn of a new year is a gift from God and a chance for us to live up to the expectations He has for us.
I have set my expectations for this year extremely high, and I encourage you to do the same. We should seek to eradicate hate and violence from our world. We should strive to end poverty and the pain of loneliness that imprisons so many of our brothers and sisters. Can this be accomplished? Absolutely. Will it be? Probably not. But we can at least set the bar.
The first step can always be simple such as in the way we relate to one another. Let’s resolve to curb any anger or frustration we feel in our encounters with others. An understanding smile and a show of compassion can truly change the world for someone who may be on the brink. Our world needs a lot of that right now.
Let’s resolve to look at situations through the eyes of those with whom we most disagree in order to see their point of view. We must remember that every individual believes that he or she is doing the right thing. Deep within each person’s opinion is a starting point of virtue that unfortunately becomes buried by human flaws. We must especially remember this in our political discourse. The world is on the brink and we, as children of God, must hold it together.
More than anything, let’s just be good to one another. It doesn’t take much effort. And it can make a huge difference. In the words of that haunting song that will be on the lips of billions tonight, let’s “take a cup of kindness yet, for long, long ago.”
May the grace of God the Father, the love of Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you in 2018.
Happy New Year.
 Genesis 15:6
Auld Lang Syne, Robert Burns, 1788