Take a Look Back, So You Can See a Clearer New Year

I can’t believe it. Christmas is over. The season has come and gone so quickly.  It seems like we were just ordering gifts, waiting for boxes, decorating and planning for everything to happen.  And now it is over and even in the midst of all the hustle and bustle it really was a joy-filled season. 

So, how was your Christmas? Was it peaceful? Joyous? Stressful? Tiring? Energizing? We go through so many emotions during this time of year. And I don’t know about you, but it’s nice to finally sit back, take a break, and breathe…for a minute!

But only for a minute. Because you know what time it is, right? It’s time for setting New Year’s resolutions! What’s it going to be this year? Lose 10 pounds? Exercise more regularly? Watch less?  I think we should pause a moment and think about this for a minute.  We want to start thinking about and enthusiastically begin these new ventures for the new year, but do we even know what God did in our lives and the life of our church last year? Maybe we should slow down for a minute and review the past year.

You might be thinking now that you just want to get started on next year because 2022 is already going to be over.  Why should I take the time to slow down and review my year? I get those thoughts and I want to get going too.  But, as I began to think about slowing down a little and thinking about the past year I began to realize that it is good to look back and…

Celebrate our wins

Learn from our missteps

Remember God’s faithfulness

Thank God for His goodness

Reviewing our past year will help us to remember all that God has done and is doing. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but time is moving forward, and it is not slowing down. Time is our most precious commodity. We have to take advantage of every moment God gives us. Each moment we have is a gift from God. These gifts turn into precious memories that are soon forgotten unless we take the time to think on them and remember.

Just think about the Israelites for just a moment. At one point, when they were at war with the Philistines, the Israelites saw them advancing toward their position, and they were frightened. Samuel called on the Israelites to return to the Lord with all of their hearts, throw out their false gods, and obey God alone. He encouraged them to call out to the Lord to deliver them from the Philistines. And on that day, the Israelites defeated the Philistines.

So, what did the Israelites do next? Did they plow forward with their plans? Did they move on with their lives? Watch what Samuel does.

“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpath and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Till now the Lord has helped us.’” 1 Samuel 7:12

Why do you think Samuel did this? He did it because he knew the importance of remembering. He knew that if they remembered what the Lord had done, it would encourage and motivate the Israelites to believe God in difficult times for the future, not only in their lives, but in the lives of generations to come.

I hope this encourages you to take the time to review this past year and celebrate all that God has done and is doing in your life and the life of our church. I hope that by remembering God’s goodness and faithfulness, you will have the confidence and the faith to run with endurance the race that God has set before you (Hebrews 12:1).