By Rev Angela C Bosfield Palacious
The delight of Christmas and the promise of a new year often intensifies the pain of those who are feeling sorrow or pain. There are some among us who do not feel like celebrating. Recent bereavement, broken relationships, sickness and financial distress are just some of the reasons that people give for feeling more down than up at this time.
Listen to what the Word of God has to say about what it means to celebrate the goodness of God in the midst of pain.
The prophet Isaiah, writing to those in exile, shares words of his great joy because of what God has done for him: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10; NRSV). Do you love God this much? Is this your level of gratitude?
Not only are you to know this for yourself, however, but you are to offer hope to your fellow Bahamians and non-Bahamians about their situation. Our faith is a gift that increases in value as we share its effects, because our joy doubles when others come into a saving faith also.
Our attitude in 2018 needs to reflect the joy that comes from the Lord alone, since we know that God is in control and is always doing a new thing in secret: “For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations” (Is. 61:11; NRSV). Is your faith functioning in this manner?
This has to be our position as Christians, speaking our truth fearlessly and lovingly: “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch. The nations shall see your vindication, and all the kings your glory; and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.”(Is. 62: 1-3; NRSV).
If we know that the Messiah has come and that the Holy Spirit is available to each one of us, then our joy can burst into song in spite of our tears. We were adopted even while we were orphaned by sin, and made heirs of the royal estate of the King of kings. Our prosperity is first and foremost spiritual, and the rest can be added as God sees fit.
Our New Year can be a happy and holy one because Christ has made all things new: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7; NRSV). Cast all your cares upon the Lord, trust the providence of God, rejecting Satan’s lies, and make this a Holy New Year with Christ Jesus at its centre. You are a child of the Kingdom of God and our God reigns.