How to Face the Unknown

New Year’s Day

House guests are gone, house is a mess, and … much too quiet.

I flip through the familiar dog-eared pages of 2013. Each week is marked with hand-written appointments and events that defined and filled twelve months of my life.

As I hang up the 2014 calendar, the days are numbered, but unspoken for…filled with possibility.  

Not knowing what tomorrow brings is like traveling uncharted waters. I can be excited, make plans, hope for the best, but who knows?

 

So many prayer requests come to mind; people waiting, hoping the New Year includes a …

·        Baby

·        Job

·        Promotion

·        Home

·        Restored health

·        Marriage

·        Grandchildren’s welfare

 

For some, not knowing … if these things will come to pass … invokes anxiety.

Others know change is on the horizon, and that stirs fear.  

So how can I face a calendar of unknowns, or the thought of current difficulties never ending?  

By remembering the people in the Christmas story who experienced fear, and how God responded.

 

 

Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.”  (Luke 1:30)

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20)

“And the angel said to them (shepherds), Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10)

       

What seemed like scary circumstances was the means for something good to happen.

 “And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

 

This same Jesus, knowing He’d die on a cross to save people from their sins, and that His disciples would undergo horrid circumstances, assured them, 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

 

Peace depends on my relationship with Christ, not my circumstances.

Can I wrap my mind around this FACT instead of getting tangled in my FEELINGS?

I can face the unknown because I know Christ. 

And He says, “Do Not be afraid.”     

Even in this…..

What Does the Future Hold?

IMG_6108My Christmas tree, an Evergreen symbol of eternal life, stands stripped of its color and lights. Waits to be thrown away like last week’s used gift-wrap.

I pinch the needles, still soft and green. Run my fingers like a comb through strands of silver tinsel clinging to its branches. Pine scent lingers, but the Christmas gifts are gone.

Refrigerator shelves, once crowded with a feast, look bare.

Cookie platter has nothing left but crumbs.

And the living room, where guests sang carols, is filled with empty chairs.

Christmas has come and gone. All gone, like 2012.

A melancholy sigh escapes my lips.

All gone, except the dust and piles of dirty laundry.

Why does the Creche on the mantel suddenly seem out of place? God’s gift to the world is no less real just because it’s New Year’s Day.

Move Baby Jesus to a storage bin, toss the Christmas tree outside. Dust the mantel, vacuum pine needles, put tangled lights into a pile.

Christmas time is gone.

Even the stores have moved on. Their shelves once stocked with candy canes, now display pink heart-shaped candy.

Winter rain will come, perhaps it will even snow.

But today the sun is shining so my dismal mood must go.

Daylight stretches longer, beckoning more warmth.

And dormant bulbs beneath a cold, hard ground, are scheduled to appear when the Groundhog comes to town. Will he see his shadow?

The good Lord only knows.

Till then, I …

Peruse mental snap shots of  family far and near; and the extraordinary “in laws” we met two weeks shy of the new year.

I remember forever friends, new friends discovered, and the kindness of strangers who once crossed my path.

A new calendar hangs on my wall, twelve months of the unknown. For example, who knew this time last year, the abundant blessings God had in store? Who could predict ill health, tears wept, and painful losses that made me shout, ‘no more!’

I glance through last year’s journal to read from whence I came. Reminders I can trust the Lord to walk with me through the coming days.

God is present and He loves me…whatever 2013 holds.

“I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,

with thee, O Father, as my harbour,

           thee, O Son, at my helm,

           thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.”

Puritan Prayer from The Valley of Vision