As last month drew to a close, we heard lots of people commenting about how glad they were to see 2020 end. We were all hoping that the start of the new year would offer a reset of sorts; a chance to shake off the struggles and difficulties that had filled the outgoing year and begin anew. Perhaps we should have known better. We know that the changing of a calendar really doesn’t impact the public health challenges, the political strife, the economic difficulties, the personal struggles that we encounter.
As people of faith, we also know that we never face anything alone. We know that the God who creates the world and us, stands with us through it all. We know that the love and faithfulness of God will not fail to care for us. We know that God’s persistent, unexpected, transforming presence in the world and in our lives is in the midst of bringing the kind of change that will move us toward true justice, deep hope, and everlasting peace. This is who God is and what God does. Even when we question. Even when we doubt. Even when we yell to the heavens in rage at what we are experiencing or what we don’t understand.
So, if it seems like this new year has already failed you, take heart. There is a new beginning every single day. There is a new beginning each moment. The God who creates and saves and moves us is here, making all things new. Working to bring healing despite tragedy and disaster. Continuing to bring reconciliation in the face of violence and hate. Pouring love and forgiveness into our broken and hurting world. It may not be a swift as we’d like, but God is alive and changing us and this world.
This season in the church year is Epiphany. We remember the story of the magi, who travelled from distant lands to honor the infant Jesus. They saw that God was up to something remarkable and wanted to bear witness. They remind us that God is still up to something remarkable, and that it includes all the nations and peoples of the world. The light of the star in the deepest night guided them to the child. The light of God’s healing, justice, and hope will guide us in the deepest, most difficult challenges we face.
As people of faith, we fasten our hope on God. We follow the star that guides us through perils and pain. We follow the star that reminds us to work for justice and reconciliation. We follow the star that comforts us when we are so weary. We follow the star that bears witness to the one who creates everything, loves and changes each of us, and stirs us to follow and bring light wherever we are.
My prayers are with you in this new year. May it be a year that transforms us all.