The Pastor’s Desk-January Newsletter

Endings and Beginnings! That’s where we find ourselves at this time of year, isn’t it? The end of the year 2023 and the beginning of the year 2024. We remember the successes, good times, and good things of 2023. And we look forward to the same in the coming year.

What does the scripture say about endings and beginnings? The Bible is chock full of scriptural references about both endings and beginning. But as we come to the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024, the Apostle Paul may have some of the best quotes for remembering the past and looking to the future.

In II Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Did you catch that? “Old things have passed away.” I guess he is reminding us that, while it might be good to remember the past, it is also good to realize there is very little we can do to change it. It’s sort of like unkind words that slip out of our mouth during some disagreement or discussion. Once those old words have slipped out, you can’t reach out there, grab them, and put them back into your mouth. About the only thing we can do after committing such an act is make amends for the unkind words through an apology to the offended person and hope they will forgive us. I believe it was old Benjamin Franklin who said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That is mostly true for all the bad things we’ve done in our life.

So, what about new beginnings? Again, we remember Paul’s Corinthians quote, “all things have become new.” A new year brings new opportunities. Opportunities to do good in our lives. Opportunities to do things differently than we’ve done in the past. Opportunities to do right instead of wrong. Opportunities to say good and right words instead of hurtful, wrong words to others. But that also brings to mind a word that has a hint of good intentions that seldom pan out. Shhhh! RESOLUTIONS! Oh yes, resolutions! What resolutions are we making to secure a better 2024 than 2023 or past years have been? I can’t speak for you, as you can’t speak for me. But I can say to you that, at least for me, if God isn’t in the center of that resolution, it’s probably going to fail. So, as we make our resolutions to be better people in 2024, let’s make God the center of those resolutions.

Yes, look back at 2023, but it’s more important to look forward to 2024. Let’s quote Paul one more time, shall we? He says in Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”