New Year, New Hope

It's 2024 at last. 

We've put years between us and the challenging seasons of 2020 and 2021, when the world stopped during the global pandemic and haltingly restarted, only to stop and start again more times than we would like to recount. 

But those years taught us something, even as they left a mark on our societies.  

They taught us that there is resilience in us all and that despite our differences and the sharp divisions exacerbated during that time, there is more to us than we thought. 

I am hopeful today, on this second day of the year.  I am choosing hope.  

I'm also realizing anew that there is something required of those of us who call ourselves Christians if we are to live more fully in the hope that we have.  

The hope that we have is not common.  The uncommon hope we have comes from believing there is more on the other side of whatever trials and tribulations we face.  

It's the kind of hope that perseveres despite all the evidence that it shouldn't.  It's a defiant hope that glances over the many negative possibilities and chooses the one that leads to triumph.  

Here's the thing, though.  This kind of hope is not a static thing.  This kind of hope requires movement.  We can't stay where we are, and we assume hope will remain if we are unwilling to go where it leads us. 

Soren Kierkegaard once wrote about this very thing in relation to the story of the Magi from Matthew's Gospel.  

He focused on the aspect of the story that showed the Magi from the east being moved to follow a star. 

At the same time, the scribes and religious leaders in Jerusalem advised King Herod that something may have happened and there might be a promised Messiah born in Bethlehem did nothing.   

He wrote: 

"...we may know the whole of Christianity, yet make no movement.  The power that moved heaven and earth leaves us completely unmoved. 

If we are to be the people we long to be, we need to turn our lip service about hope into the action of moving our feet forward in the journey of following Jesus.  

We can talk about hope all we want, and that's a good beginning, but until we take a step on the Way of Christ and then another, we'll never fully realize its power to change us and the world around us. 

So don't be afraid of moving forward into this new year that stretches before us.  Manifest hope as you do, and renew your journey with Jesus in joy.  

Make what resolutions you need to make to do this wisely and well.  Let go of whatever has been holding you back this past year.  And then be resolved to chase hope with all the passion you can muster. 

It's 2024 at last. Let's make it a year to remember for all the right reasons. 

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ bet with you now and always. Amen.  


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