The universal greeting on this first day of 2021 shifts away from Christmas and Christ’s coming into our lives as wondrous gift of new life, to now a rather more bland greeting. An even more acceptable greeting in these days of the “new culture.” The new greeting of Happy New Year simply pleads for better days ahead, for the hope of change for the better.
It doesn’t call on God for help. It doesn’t reverently wish Christ’s joy to come into people’s lives. It wishes briefly, blandly for happy times ahead. Good luck, so to speak. A year of nothing bad. No tragedy. No sorrow. No suffering.
How much more vital, and earthy, the greeting for Christmas – the Christ child come to Bethlehem and the world – announcing Jesus has come to our heart and our life. To be IN us. To be beside us, leading us day by day.
The key is the daily walk, the new reality for every day: Jesus, come to be LORD of our lives. Come to us to crown our morning. And then to bless us noon-day – especially over lunch with a friend in Christ. And, at night where all about us is dark with the night, and we can lie back and think and pray and be glad for life and love, and be blessed for the night.
I struggle with wanting to be useful, and then realize that Jesus asks me to care, to have a heart, to be a light – HIS LIGHT – in the world. And understand I am saved by grace, by God’s forgiveness of my sins. I cannot earn my way home to heaven. I can’t achieve salvation by good works. Even though we all are meant to serve, to care about others, live lives of love and mercy.
At home, my wife is ever moving about, creating and re-creating the warmth and welcome of our home. She keeps lists of things needing to be done. Of improvements to be made. And she, just about 90, Molly makes those improvements herself. And I, behind my impenetrable mask, can hardly breathe – much less run down to the garage to bring some household things back, or go to the front desk mailroom to retrieve whatever mail might have come today, much less push or pull furniture, or lift chests, or nail a picture to the wall. I save my breath. I do tiny chores. By the world’s standard, I am a sluggard. Molly was quite right when once she said, in relation to the dirty, dusty, heavy things, “I am ‘the man of the house.’”
She works, I know, at keeping me alive. I m so grateful. I work at it, too. I eat and sleep. I try to work at minimal exercise.
What I do is, I think and pray. I write blogs. I write letters. I see people who may want to see me. I listen. I try to encourage. I try to be a pastor while I still can.
Which means, watching the world. Trying to understand it. Trying to help others live in it, as best they can. I urge them to remember Jesus. The DAILY Jesus. The handholding, leading the way, Jesus. The Jesus who walks the wild roads; who was never afraid of the wilderness; nor of the BIG and POWERFUL; or of the cross on which they are trying to crucify Him again.
His brave steps are the ones He calls us to follow: the standing up; the telling of truth; the living out love, so ridiculously simple, and difficult.
How do you really listen to others? How do you respect a human being? How do you hold out a hand to help?
With or without George Floyd, or “Black Lives Matter,” or progressive politicians, there is a path we need to find, a way to BE, that is true to Jesus, for us to live, and demonstrate the Jesus Way of LIfe.
It’s every new day – not every “New Year.” It is this day, this hour, this minute. Doing it, and doing it – until the last day, and the last breath.
So... Happy New Day, happy new hour, and minute. Over and over. Until the end. With joy.
Bless you – all!
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
|Arthur Rouner Ministries||
ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES