Ten . . . nine . . . eight . . . seven . . . six . . . .

 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens….”  Ecclesiastes 3:1

What is it about a countdown that is so compelling?   I can understand it in some instances, like for the Apollo liftoff sending a manned rocket to the moon.  There’s no denying the nervous excitement there . . . is that gargantuan man-made rocket really going to fly into space and then come back again?  Over time we have known the thrill of successful missions; but we are no longer naive about missions that can end in tragedy.

But what about the countdown on New Years Eve?  Crowds of people staying up until midnight to make the count:  “Ten . . . nine . . . eight . . . seven . . . six . . . . “ and then what?  We watch gravity do its thing as a giant ball is dropped . . . and people go berserk!  Nothing changes, but people cheer as if something tremendous had just occurred!  On the surface, it all seems a bit silly.  However, as I have gotten older I have come to appreciate the importance of marking time.   Most of the things we celebrate are marking the time event of things that happened in the past (birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Christmas . . .) or we celebrate events that are about to take place (showers given to prepare for the arrival of unborn babies or going-away parties for people about to make a departure.)  Time markers are important because they serve to remind us of the swiftness of times passage.

As a counselor, I am fully aware of the preciousness of time when I see how it is wasted when depression or anxiety consume the life of an individual and impacts the people around them.   It is an awful thing to see a life wasted when someone is consumed by anger or by fear that takes them into hopelessness and darkness.  However, there is no place I would rather be than to watch someone choose to trust God and gain their freedom as they find encouragement, hope and direction from the Scriptures.  One of my favorite places we go for encouragement is Psalm 139 which says in part:

  • “O Lord, you have searched me
    and You know me.
    You know when I sit and when I rise;
    You perceive my thoughts from afar.
    You discern my going out and my lying down;
    You are familiar with all my ways.  
    Where can I go from Your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from Your presence?
    If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
    If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
    even there Your hand will guide me,
    Your right hand will hold me fast.  
    If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,
    even the darkness will not be dark to You;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to You.”  (Verses1-3, 7-12)

Where are you in your mind and heart right now as we prepare to countdown our entry into the new year?  Are you “on top of the world” with the hope of good things to come; or perhaps you have had a tough year and doubt that anything will change in the forseeable future?  Perhaps you are somewhere in between?   I write this to invite you (no matter what your present state may be) to join me in entering this new year fueled by the Hope that is ours in Christ Jesus.  Join me in giving thanks as we seek to live each day to His Glory!  Five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . . one . . . Happy New Year!

“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:12-14  

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