The natural rhythm of this time of the year gifts us with a wonderous opportunity to reflect on 2019 and reset for the coming year. However, we are mistaken to believe that simply taking a break and occupying ourselves with leisure activities is all the rest we need. You and I are designed for a rest which allows us to leave 2019 with the right perspective and enter into 2020 with hearts fixed on the centrality of Christ in our lives.
Now, before it all gets to serious, let’s begin by reflecting on your story of 2019 by playing a little game called ‘If my past year were a movie it would be called…’
IF MY 2019 WERE A MOVIE IT WOULD BE CALLED…
If 2019 was a year of God turning the ‘unfair’, the ‘out of my control’, the ‘solitary confinement’ moments into Rita Hayward posters of hope, deliverance and times ‘to get busy living’, then Shawshank, with its unrelenting Andy Dufresne and ‘second chance’ ‘Red’, is a fine choice for you.
Okay, not everyone loves musicals, so skip right on if you’d rather listen to Hadada sounds than sit through all the singing and dancing. However, if 2019 was filled with the realisation that there is nothing more important than family, especially not the pursuit of fame and fortune, and you discovered the cost of personal ambition and the beauty of forgiveness, then the singing wolverine hits just the right note for you.
Where to begin. First an admission. End Game is not a classic (Sorry Marvel fans) but if we view it as the culmination of twenty-two movies, then it’s up there with some of the greatest sagas of our time. So, if 2019 felt like the year when you were really up against it, then the ‘inevitable’ Thanos has got you covered. And if 2019, had its share of loss (we will all miss Tony) and personal sacrifice, then End Game is your story.
What’s the movie title that tells your story of 2019?
GIVE 2019 THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
Our looking back on 2019 needs to be more than just ‘movie title picking’ and a ‘Jika’ down memory lane. It’s important to look for God’s story in your past year. As the famed abolitionist William Wilberforce once penned in his journal,
“Blessed be to God for the day of rest and religious occupation wherein earthly things assume their true size.”
As we look back on 2019, we need to let ‘earthly things assume their true size’. If not, the string of events that made up your past year are at risk of being defined through the sole lens of materialism and productivity, tying your identity and value to an earthly measurement.
Worship leader and song writer Matt Redman (remember him?) penned the song ‘Never once’ during a time of personal transition, not too dissimilar from this time of year. These words help us to see that God was present through the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of 2019, even when it didn’t feel that way.
Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us
Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us
Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
As Jesus said,
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
TOWARDS 2020: CORRECTING THE DRIFT
When swimming in the ocean, it’s easy to let the current move you along the shoreline or (dangerously) even further out to sea. Before you know it, you’ve drifted away from where you first started swimming. A similar occurrence of drift happens in our spiritual life.
As we go through a year, we slowly take on board lies, deceptions, and untruths about ourselves, about others and even about Christ. Before we move into the ‘Nuwe jaar’, we need to correct the drift.
The Christmas narrative in the Gospels provides the perfect mirror for such a time of correction, allowing any sincere seeker to soak themselves again in the truths of God’s love, grace and mercy. Read the ‘Christmas story’ again in your bible (it’s not enough to just hear it again from the pulpit), allowing the Holy Spirit to recalibrate the Divine design of your life. Allow God with tender touch the time to help you re-affirm your belief in the birth, life, death, resurrection and second coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Give our Heavenly Father permission, to cast light on that which needs to be broken off and that which needs to be pruned (John 15:1-4).
With Christ again at the centre of all that comprises your life, you are firmly positioned to consider the shape of your 2020 Kingdom mission.