Closing A Year

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

As we come to the close of another year and anticipate a new one, it is right that we should offer praise and thanks to our Lord. No matter what the previous year has held, you are still reading and I am still writing. This is only possible because of the Lord. Our ability to wake up every day for the past 365 mornings is because of the Lord. All of our abilities and our skills find their source in the Lord. Every possession we have, our health, and our mental capacities are due to the giving of the Lord. We have journeyed through another year and are at this point as a blessing from the Lord.

Looking into the new year, the promises of the Lord continue. While we have no idea what this new year may contain for us, we know that the Lord walks through it with us. We can depend on the Lord to lead us if we will follow. The compassion and mercy of the Lord will enrich us every day. The provisions of the Lord will sustain us throughout another year. Most of all, the love of the Lord will surround us every minute of every day in the new year.

I invite you on this New Year’s Eve to pause and say thank you.

Making Requests

May God be gracious to us and bless us
    and make his face shine on us—[b]
so that your ways may be known on earth,
    your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
    for you rule the peoples with equity
    and guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise you, God;
    may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest;
    God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still,
    so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

Psalm 67 (NIV)

We are quickly approaching our Christmas celebration and the end of another year. Many people have been sending greetings to one another. Usually these greetings communicate a desire for the receiver to have a merry Christmas and a blessed new year. When people think about what would make a merry Christmas, they may consider time spent with family and friends. The stronger thought which enters many minds is the hope to receive just the right gifts. Similarly, a blessed new year conjures thoughts of no problems, being prosperous, and maintaining positive physical and financial health. What truly is a merry Christmas and a blessed new year?

The writer of this psalm speaks of blessings from the Lord. The psalm begins with a familiar benediction, a hope that God will be gracious, will provide blessings, and be present. The reason for this request is so that the Lord’s ways will become known. Then the requests continue with a focus on the praise of God. Concluding the psalm is an acknowledgement of what the Lord has already provided with an additional request that God continues to bless the people.

Reading this psalm, it almost appears like a Christmas request list from a group of believers. A list given to God instead of Santa Claus. There is nothing here which would be misaligned with the hopes of all of God’s children. Yet I am stopped in my thoughts by a set of nagging questions…

  • What am I doing to make this wish list a reality?
  • How am I seeking God’s face?
  • In what ways do I encourage others to praise the Lord?
  • Am I showing God gratitude for the blessings already given?

Maybe these questions might be yours as well. Take a moment to ponder these questions. How do you respond? Are there changes you may need to make? What do your Christmas requests to God look like? How are you working to fulfill those requests?