Happy New Year!!
I am looking forward to 2018 because it offers a fresh start to the next 365 days and because it is an even number. I like even numbers and it so happens that 18 is my favorite number. I have no good reason why it is my favorite, it just is. I am happy to let go of this past year and look forward to a more positive year ahead.
The uneven year of 2017 was also filled with destructive human behavior like riots, shootings, and divisive political rhetoric, which left me with a feeling of hopelessness and anxiety. It feels like human life has become cheap with all of the reports of mass shootings and the use of vehicles as weapons to kill innocent bystanders. And yet.. There were positive events that should be praised and talked about with abandonment. With all of the tragedies, whether the storms, fires or shootings, the greatest story is the one found in the human spirit. Thousands of people rushed to the aid of people in need. People risked their safety to save others such as the human chains, which were formed to save people from the rising waters; others who risked being shot in order to help others escape the flying bullets, and still others who stepped in harm’s way to assist police to capture and stop the killers. Millions of dollars, food, water, medical supplies, furniture, clothing, and buckets of cleaning supplies were donated from businesses, retail stores, and churches, nonprofits and through private donations to provide for many hurting people. So many people stepped up to help their neighbors and communities. This is the definition of goodwill!
2017 was also the year that women found their voices. As someone who knows how important it is to have a voice and has spent years helping women find their voices, I applaud the women who marched worldwide for equal rights and for the courageous voices of the #metoo movement. There has been pain but the power and strength of our voices together gives us confidence that change is happening. This change shouldn’t be difficult if we treat others, as we want to be treated.
As I have reflected on the past year of events with its very dark moments and/or inspirational times of goodwill, there has been one scripture verse that I have repeated many times. It is, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it” (Jn 1:5). God through Jesus put on flesh and came to earth as a baby of light in Jesus. We have just celebrated Advent- the season of light- and the birth of the baby Jesus, Immanuel, who was God in the flesh. Immanuel is a word that is often only used during this season, however it should be used every second of the day. It means “God with us.” God gave us a tangible person in Jesus to show us his love for us. That’s right, God is here with us through all of the darkness. That is a promise that I cling too. A friend described it like this: “I need Jesus to be the tangible hope, love and peace to get me through life and its darkness.” Jesus is the tangible presence that lives with us and within us. Jesus is the light that will blaze the path into the new year. The darkness of the world’s current events will not overcome it. The light of goodwill will illuminate the way into 2018!