Hurtling down a mountain at full-speed towards the deadline of 2016, our feet feel as if they are going to be pulled out from underneath us at any second. There is still so much to do before 2017 rolls around and so little time to do it. Then just like that, the clock strikes midnight -BAM- and 2017 swings around. This all happens within the space of a second and yet somehow, as if by magic, we are expected to feel refreshed and renewed with the vigour of fresh passion and vision that comes with a New Year. New Year – New You!
I think I missed that memo! I’m still tumbling around the bottom of the mountain that was 2016, hair in a mess and brain in a flurry. I could swear I saw a few of you rolling around here with me, picking yourselves up off the floor and brushing off the debris. It’s okay, we are all on this journey together and as I begin to lift my gaze to a new year and open my heart to the possibilities, there is one thing I think we all desperately need more of… Joy! Elusive joy. The kind of joy that is unshakeable, deep-rooted and weaved into the very fibre of our thoughts, emotions and being. ‘The joy of the Lord is my strength’ kind of joy.
Someone to my right began to giggle, I smiled and thanked Him for his joy again. Before long, that little room, in a little Church in a little suburb in Brisbane, Australia was filled with the spirit of joy as people began to laugh, sing and shout praises to our Lord and Saviour. I will never forget that moment.
Psalm 16:11 (ESV)
As we stand here at the beginning of 2017, let’s start by thanking Jesus for all he has done. For dying on a cross for our sins, for welcoming us into his family and giving us new names and Eternal Life. For being the kind of Saviour and High Priest that can empathise with all we go through and has purchased for us, on the cross, all we need for life and godliness. Not just an ordinary life, mind you, but life with abundant peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self control, gentleness and JOY.
Then, while we move through the moments of 2017, my desire is that as I seek out the ‘fullness of joy’ and ‘pleasures forevermore‘ that come from knowing Christ, I might bring you on this journey with me. May we emerge together from the coming year a little wiser, a little more steadfast, a little more thankful and a little more established in joy.