How did you welcome in a New Year? Many of us attended a party with friends, family, food and music and waited until the Big Apple in Times Square dropped.. Did you enter this New Year concerned about whether your work will create more stress than benefit? Are you concerned for how you will make ends meet? Are you concerned about the side effects and efficacy for the health care treatment that you receive? Or were you able to welcome in this New Year excited for what lies ahead, for how God will shine light into your days, and wonder for how God will use you?
Perhaps we can do both. Perhaps we can enter this New Year with an appreciation of the difficulties of navigating our faith in this broken world. Perhaps this New Year will call us to make ends meet through life giving relationships that make all the difference for how we manage our families, our lifework and our recreation. Perhaps we can enter this New Year, knowing that in the midst of our illness, God will use us for someone or something beyond our understanding.
Welcoming in a new year for me always means welcoming in new people. Each year I am blessed by making new friends. Do you have a plan for welcoming new people in your life this year? Those at work? In your neighborhood? At the bus or on the metro? At your church?
Jesus made friends with everyone, the disciples and the lost, children in the family and those outside the family, the rich and the poor, the healthy and the ill. He sent the disciples instructing them, “ Therefore, be as shrewd and snakes and as innocent as doves.” Even in the time of Jesus, making friends and sharing the love of God was a risk taking mission. Jesus instructed the twelve in Matthew 10, “Go to find the lost sheep, preach this message, the kingdom of God is near.” Jesus instructed them to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy and drive out the demons. He warned them about the difficulties they would encounter, saying “Do not be afraid, the very hairs on your head are numbered.”
We make friends in the knowledge that God is with us, that our truest form of sharing Christ comes through friendship, journeying alongside one another to encourage, keep one another accountable and strengthen our faith. It’s time to welcome in the new! Let’s look forward to all the Holy Spirit will send in our midst in the year ahead. I am sure we will find Christ revealed in each of our new friends.