Doug Creamer: The End of 2016
The packages have been unwrapped. The bows and ribbons are scattered. The stockings have been unhung from the chimney with care, emptied, and the treats have tickled our taste buds. We are all rubbing our full tummies wondering how on earth we ate all that food. The tree still sparkles in wonder and the lights outside continue to help hold back winter’s dark night.
Many have determined their gifts do not fit so they are off to the shopping centers to exchange them. Others have hit the stores hunting for bargains to snatch up with their gift cards. Still others are finding wrapping paper and cards which will safely be stored for next year.
Soon we will all begin the task which I hate … putting Christmas away. I enjoy getting the decorations out, but I absolutely do not like putting the Christmas things away. But here we stand just a short time until the New Year begins. We still have a little time to enjoy some family, friends, and a little more good food before the doldrums of winter roll around.
It’s an odd time but a good one. We have the privilege to reflect back on the year that is about to end and the opportunity to imagine what the New Year will bring our way. I assure you that each one of us has had some good memories that we will cherish and if life has been normal in your house there are some memories that you would rather forget. We have to choose which memories we will carry with us and which we need to leave at the threshold of 2017. Some things we need to let go of so we can move forward.
Some believe we should never look back at the past but I think differently. I have discovered after a lifetime of looking back on my last week in order to write a column, that looking back allows me to see the hand of God in my life. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when life seems to go crazy, it is hard to see God in those moments. It takes time and distance to be able to look back and see the hand of God moving and acting on our behalf.
I believe that reflecting back on life and looking for God’s hand builds our testimony to His goodness in our lives. We need to be able to tell others about the goodness and faithfulness of God. Our journey is our story and our story can be the very thing that helps others who are struggling. So now that the holiday season is drawing to a close, look back on how you lived life this year and how God worked in and through you.
Each of these memories you choose to treasure and carry with you into the New Year will be a blessing for you and for others. As we turn our eyes to focus on the New Year I hope we can see the future with positive possibilities. We need to believe that God is making good plans for our New Year. We know that there will be good days and bad days, but we want to look for God’s hand as He guides us through each one.
I believe God is blazing a trail for us, planning new adventures. God wants to see us grow spiritually strong so that means there will be some challenges waiting in the New Year that will help us develop spiritual muscles. God wants us to be closer so He will be waiting for us where we have our quiet time. God wants to pour more of His love, grace, and peace into our lives so the opportunity to receive more is waiting for us in the New Year.
God sees a future that is hope-filled and bright. God sees a future where we are walking in His grace. God sees a future that goes beyond our imagination. God sees a future where we, His sons and daughters, are living in peace and fulfilling our God-ordained purposes. God sees a future where churches work together to reach the lost with His love.
I want to encourage you to take a few moments to reflect on the good things from 2016 and to prayerfully consider God’s good plans for your future. We know God is good and that He is planning good things for our future. With joy we will close 2016 and with faith we will enter 2017 knowing that God is good, faithful, loving, and waiting there for us. Happy New Year!
Doug Creamer’s books include ‘Encouraging Thoughts.’ Contact him at email@example.com