Every new year, we all have great expectations of what the days and months ahead would offer us. Each year, we hope to make it better than the previous year. We anticipate better relationships with family and friends, better discipline and a healthy lifestyle, a more prosperous and fruitful year, and for those in ministry, a great revival!
Many of us started the year with great expectation until the COVID pandemic escalated. Since then, I have heard jokes from various people calling the year 2020 a write-off! Some have said that they have spent the whole year learning to thoroughly wash their hands! For many others, it has been a year of grief, loss, sadness, loneliness, and intense mental health issues.
So, what good can come out of 2020? Could it be the breakthrough in vaccines that some have hoped would help us transition back to normality as we knew it? Could it be the results of the American election? Could it be the ease in lockdown that would enable families to gather again during Christmas?
Well, two thousand years ago, Philip said to Nathanael, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” (John 1:45). Upon hearing this, Nathanael responded by saying, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see”. (John 1:46).
Church, we cannot deny the challenges this year has thrown at us, but just like how Nazareth was thought of as a place where nothing good could possibly come from, yet the presence of Jesus changed all of that. For a lot of people, this year has been one of gloom and darkness, but scripture reminds us that, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” Isaiah 9:2. John goes further to explain who this light is, as he said, “In him [Jesus] was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4).
As believers, we are encouraged to see things in light of God’s truth and the eternal hope to which we were called. We are reminded that, “…this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.“ Hebrews 13:14 (NLT). So, while this year has been a nightmare for many, our hope is not in what next year could possibly bring, but rather the joy and assuredness of an eternal hope, joy and peace we have with the Father through Christ. With Jesus, there is much good in each day and year to endure into eternity.
It was for this purpose that He was born, so if you feel that this year is a write-off, just remember the true hope found in Christ.