So we've made it! We've safely negotiated another Christmas and entered a new year largely unscathed... apart from our bank balance... and our waistlines perhaps! Yes, and now it's time for all the good intentions to kick in... gym membership, 10,000 steps a day and a little less carbs in my diet. Oh yes, a new year may offer... but does it ever deliver?
Now that the sun has set on the old year and we've stepped into a new one with zealous optimism, my guess is that 2022 won't be all that different from the year we've left behind.
No doubt there will be those of us who in our heart of hearts are saying to ourselves, surely things can only get better, when, in reality, things will probably only get... similar!
THE PROSPECT OF A NEW BEGINNING
But then a new year always offers the opportunity to make a fresh start, for putting the past behind us, for wiping the slate clean, for drawing a line... or whatever makes us feel better about life in general and ourselves in particular. Call me an old cynic if you like, but although the politicians continue to promise and pontificate, will things really change for the better? Will 2022 see a genuine reduction in domestic violence, will drug-related crime
be slashed and young children cease to die at the hands of their parents? Well of course it would be great to think so, but sadly I for one am not holding my breath!
Plans, programmes and policies all have their place, but to me the heart of the human problem is still the problem of the human heart.
Many years ago the Times newspaper sent out an inquiry to famous authors of the day, asking the question, 'What's wrong with the world?', and from one man they received the following very honest and insightful reply...
'Dear Sir, What's wrong with the world? I am! Yours, GK Chesterton.'
Of course if you and I are courageous enough to take a really honest look at our lives we'd have to admit that we're pretty hopeless at changing ourselves for the better. Over the years so many have proved in personal experience that DIY self-improvement simply doesn't work! Of yes, maybe to begin with... but we just can't keep it up. I guess that's why less and less of us make New Year resolutions. In fact, many of us reckon it's better not to start because it feels all the worse when, despite our best efforts, we ultimately fail.
THE PROMISE OF A NEW DIRECTION
So surely it's not the implementation of a plan that's required, no matter how cleverly designed and well intentioned, it's the intervention of a Person... the Lord Jesus Christ. His power is far beyond the limitations of human endeavour, and He will help us in and through whatever lies ahead. After all, He always wants the best for us...
'...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.'
So as we stand at the threshold of a new year wondering just how the future will pan out, there can surely be no better advice other than that offered by Minnie Louise Haskins...
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'
And he replied:
'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.'
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!