At every rounding of the year, we realize how much we need renewal.
On New Year’s Eve, we want to slam the door on the departing year, or banish memories of 2020’s pain and grief. But there are—and must be—great ties between the old year and the new.
We live in the same bodies: we inhabit the same homes. We remain related to the same family: we work at the same jobs. We worship with the same believers: we study the same Word.
It’s renewal, then, and not a clean break from the past, that offers us our greatest hope in 2021. How can our bodies be renewed? Will this year be the one when we’re transformed by the renewing of our minds? (Rom 12:2). How does a weary marriage find new sources of resilience and of laughter? Can dry and broken friendships be restored? We crave the ageless source of all renewal—the grace and mercy of our Lord revealed in the pages of His Word.
Yes, grace renews what grace began.
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Cor 4:16-17).
So here’s to growing deeper, stronger, wiser, kinder in 2021.
Stay in grace.
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This painful year has made us clear on what we want for Christmas. Though Lexus and Mercedes-Benz are sure we want a gleaming ride with giant ribbons on the roof, we have no miles we want to drive. The ads all tease us with dark fantasies on Amazon or Netflix, but we still have our darkness to get through. The tech toys that we bought for sport have only one compelling use this year.
We want each other more than gifts. We want the long and lingering embrace of two-year olds who won’t let go; the bear hug from a distant friend; the real gatherings of real folk around a tree, a table, or a fire. We want the laughter never muted, carols sung by families on nights no longer silent. We want the deep security we find in holding, playing, eating with the ones we love in places we call home.
So Christ came down because He couldn’t bear the breach of space; the distance numbered in light-years; the loving words half-understood. He came to us in helplessness so we might know He needed love—our love, the warmth for which He fashioned us. He laid aside His rulership so that a two-year old could grip Him tight; a mother’s tears could turn to joy, and bitter, broken men could heal. He came to make the lepers dance; to be the face the blind first saw; to hear the deaf sing harmony.
His joy is us: we are the only gift He wants.
Accept the grip of His embrace. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott
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