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New Year Resolutions

Readings

John 1:1-14

‘Hands up if you made New Year resolutions last year’. Keep them up if you’ve (mostly) kept them. Now hands up if you’ve made resolutions for this year – keep them up if you’ve kept them so far! I gave up making resolutions years ago – I never kept them, but then felt guilty that I hadn’t, and felt bad.

We don’t know what 2017 will bring: I stupidly predicted that ‘Brexit’ wouldn’t happen, and no one would vote for Trump!

It could be easy to be down-hearted and worried about the future: there are so many uncertainties in the world, this country and often in our own lives.

I believe the reading above can, however, give us hope: (where it speaks of the WORD it means Jesus Christ) He was around before the world was created. Through Him we have life; through Him everything will ultimately make sense – Jesus’ light will win – not darkness. Although when Jesus arrived as a baby and lived in the world he was not recognised or received by everyone, our reading declares that all who do receive Him, who believe in Him ARE children of God. I find that so very encouraging.

Elsewhere in the Bible (Jeremiah 29:11, 12) God promises that He has plans for good for those who love Him, plans to give a hope and a future. In Matthew 11:28& 29 Jesus is recorded as inviting all who are weary and worried to come to Him for real rest and restoration.

We know from many passages in the Bible, and often from our own experience, that God’s love for each of us and the entire human race is overwhelming.

King George V1th made a prayer famous by quoting it in his Christmas broadcast in 1939:

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown,” and he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
May the Almighty Hand guide and uphold us all.

I believe that if we can indeed put our hand in the hand of God; if we’ve received the life of Jesus we can know that whatever happens this year we are safe in His love.

For years, usually at the beginning of the New Year, Christians in the Methodist church have prayed a prayer that I would like to invite you to say with me now.

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.
Amen.
 
(The Methodist Covenant Prayer)