For the last ten years I have spent my New Year’s Eve looking back/reflecting on the year as a whole. (Please know this is NOT a form of condemnation or guilt, this is honest self-reflection, it is NOT chastisement or self-flagellation). I reflect on how I have seen God work in my life and the lives of others. I reflect on missed opportunities, areas I gave into my negative emotions and areas where I have hurt people or have been hurt. I reflect on how I could have done things differently as well as reflecting on the ways God has grown and stretched my character. From there I start praying and asking God to prepare me for the New Year and the New Year for me.
Memory, remembering, remembrance are concepts found in both the Old and New Testaments. This is not just cognitive/mental recall. Remembering in the Bible implies that we act in accordance with what we are remembering. Looking back on what God has done is the greatest reminder of trust and faith that we have. Remembering what God has done moves us closer to Him. While memories can be sad and painful, knowing that we are in the Lord and that He is in us will help us process what we have been through. When I look back and see what God has done (even the difficult and painful things) it cultivates in me a spirit of gratitude, thankfulness and an excitement to keep pressing on in and with the Lord.
When we take communion, we reflect on three things: the past in which we look back to Jesus’s work on the cross; the present as we reflect on what He is currently doing in our lives and the future as we reflect/look forward in anticipation to His return. Reflecting allows us to see God for who He is and what He has done. Reflecting on what God has done fills us with confidence that God will continue working out His plan in and through us (Rom 8:28-30). God remembers His promises to His people and He prepares His people to receive His promises. His Holy Spirit enables us to remember Him, be prepared by Him and live for and with Him daily.
God desires for His people to be prepared. Peter tells us to always be prepared to give a reason for the faith/hope that we have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15), we should be prepared to stand firm against the enemy, lies and temptations that come our way (Ephesians 6:10-20). We are to be prepared (or look for ways) to encourage other believers (Heb 10:24). Everything that we go through in this life prepares us for eternity with Christ.
May you take some time to reflect on God and His promises, reflect on what He has done in your life this past year and as you do, I pray that you will allow God to prepare you for this coming year. May 2019 be your BEST year in the Lord yet! Dear reader, I am so thankful for you and for the time that you have given me this past year! Thank you!
Father God, help us to look back and see ALL that You have done for us this past year! Lord God, thank You for ALL the ways that You have grown and stretched us! Lord, I ask that You will prepare us for 2019 and 2019 for us! Lord God, this world is changing rapidly. Prepare us to face the storms and trials that are coming, prepare us to stand for Truth even when it costs us something. Lord God, may we look back on the lives of those who have gone before us and to use them as examples of how to live for You now. Lord God, prepare this reader for the joys, triumphs and difficulties this year may hold for them. Lord God, new beginnings can be scary and exciting. For those who have enjoyed 2018 and do not want to see it end, may You comfort them. For those who are eagerly awaiting 2019 and new beginnings, Lord, make Yourself known to them. Lord, prepare us, prepare Your people for the work You have for us and that work for us. Lord, may You not just prepare us, but prepare people, environments and circumstances for us. Lord God, thank You for being with this reader regardless of how they feel. Lord, each one of us is individually created to bring You glory, may You prepare us to do just that, in Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.