Happy New Year!
- January 4, 2022
- Posted by: Carolyn Mahal
- Category: Devotions
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Happy New Year to you all!
Unless you’re following the Chinese Calendar. If so, then you have about another month to go.
You see, the Chinese calendar follows the cycles of the moon, so it has a range of dates, similar to how Easter Sunday changes every year. This creates a range of new year dates between January 21 and February 20. This probably poses some challenges for calendar makers, but then again, for most people the actual date of the Chinese New Year isn’t the most recognizable part of this celebration.
What comes to mind for most of us are the animals that coincide with each year. Twelve animals in rotation have the honor of having the year named after them. I honestly don’t know the significance of each animal. I did read online that, “folklore tells of how the Jade Emperor named each year for an animal after they raced across a river. Each animal’s personality was revealed during the race, and it is said that people share traits with the animal of their lunar birth year.” I was tempted to read on, but I really didn’t want to start connecting my family and friends to critters, especially when some of the choices include pigs, snakes, and dogs. I can, however, make some strong connections between the animals and the events of their years. Don’t believe me? Well, just know that every U.S. Presidential election falls in either the year of the monkey or the year of the rat.
If you think about it, years often seem to take on a persona. Perhaps it’s just something that we attach to them personally, but I think there are some years that have a universal reputation for having been good or not so good. 2020 is an obvious example of a year we’d all like to forget. 1968 is remembered as a year of great social turmoil in America. 1945 would be a celebratory year, having achieved victory in World War II. 1980 brings up feelings of patriotism thanks to a miraculous win by a group of college-aged hockey players against the vaunted Soviet Union.
So, what will this new year bring us?
Short answer: we don’t know.
We entered 2021 with a tremendous amount of hope that we would find ourselves on the other side of the pandemic. While much progress was made, we’re certainly not where we all hoped we’d be. This has encouraged many people to shift that same optimism to 2022. Conversely, others have jokingly cautioned us to enter the new year quietly and calmly, not wanting to wake the sleeping giants that might be awaiting us. I get the joke, but we as Christians know that there is no reason for worry. We have so many assurances from our loving God that we really need not fear anything that a new calendar on the wall might bring, including tigers and dragons. Our God is consistent, all-powerful, and filled with love for each and every one of us. We can go to His word for comfort, seek refuge in His grace and peace in the promise that He will never leave us and will give us what we need to overcome what life has in store for us. Take heart in the words of Christ from John 16:33, where He assures us of this security.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Take this promise to heart as you enter the uncharted waters of 2022 and beyond.
Devotion by Richard Schumacher
LSEM Director of Programs & Services