I can’t believe it. Christmas is over. The season has come and gone. Just last week my to-do list was a mile long including buying gifts, wrapping gifts, decorating, planning, traveling…the list just kept going and going! Whew! I get tired just thinking about it. But even in the midst of it all, it truly was a joy-filled season.
So, how was your Christmas? Was it peaceful? Joyous? Stressful? Tiring? Energizing? We go through so many emotions during this time of year. And I don’t know about you, but it’s nice to finally sit back, take a break, and breathe…for a minute!
But only for a minute. Because you know what time it is, right? It's time for setting New Year’s resolutions! What’s it going to be this year? Lose 10 pounds? Exercise more regularly? Watch less…wait, wait, wait, wait! As a former boss used to say, “Slow down, turbo.” Let’s think about this for a minute. We want to passionately and enthusiastically embark on new ventures for 2016, but do we even know what God did in our lives and the life of our church last year? Let’s slow down for a minute and review 2015.
Some thoughts might be running through your mind right now. "I just want to plow forward!" "I’m ready to go, go, go!" "Why should I take the time to slow down and review my year?" If you share those thoughts, I understand completely. It’s hard to slow down. It’s difficult to say no to certain events in order to take the time to think through the past year. "So why should we do this?” you ask.
Well I’m glad you asked. Through reviewing our past year, we can:
- Celebrate our wins
- Learn from our missteps
- Remember God’s faithfulness
- Thank God for His goodness
- Set ourselves up for a love filled, joy filled, peace filled, patience filled, kindness filled, goodness filled, faithfulness filled, gentleness filled, and self-controlled new year! (see what I did there)
Reviewing our past year will help us to remember all that God has done and is doing. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but time is moving forward, and it is not slowing down. Time is our most precious commodity. We have to take advantage of every moment God gives us. Each moment we have is a gift from God. These gifts turn into precious memories that are soon forgotten unless we take the time to think on them and remember.
Let’s think about the Israelites for just a moment. At one point, when they were at war with the Philistines, the Israelites saw them advancing toward their position, and they were frightened. Samuel called on the Israelites to return to the Lord with all of their hearts, throw out their false gods, and obey God alone. He encouraged them to call out to the Lord to deliver them from the Philistines. And on that day, the Israelites defeated the Philistines. So, what did the Israelites do next? Did they plow forward with their plans? Did they move on with their lives? Watch what Samuel does.
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpath and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, 'Till now the Lord has helped us.’" 1 Samuel 7:12
Why did Samuel do this? He did it because he knew the importance of remembering. He knew that if they remembered what the Lord had done, it would encourage and motivate the Israelites to believe God in difficult times for the future, not only in their lives, but in the lives of generations to come.
So let me encourage you to take the time these next few days to review this past year and celebrate all that God has done and is doing in your life and the life of your church. I hope that by remembering God’s goodness and faithfulness, you will have the confidence and the faith to run with endurance the race that God has set before you (Hebrews 12:1).