Encouragement From The Word

A calendar change

Happy new year!

I have a habit – a tradition, of sorts – that I undertake every time I change a calendar. I did it this morning before sitting down to write this. In my study hangs a calendar, right over my computer table, which I can consult for checking dates – but also for receiving modelling inspiration and invoking memories. It’s a Canadian train calendar. And each year, when I take it down to replace it with the next year’s edition, I review the photos that went with each month. It’s hard to pick a favourite, since one photo might have a favourite locomotive and another might have the most breathtaking scenery. Occasionally, they combine for a “keeper” shot!

(In case you’re interested, 2014’s calendar favourites included a tie between VIA’s Canadian tied down in the station in Vancouver in 1986 and a Canadian Pacific RS-18u posing in front of the majestic old CP station in MacAdam, New Brunswick. I’ve visited the former; I hope to see the latter on a future trip east.)

A similar habit could be undertaken of the snapshots of our lives over the course of the past year, couldn’t it? If you’re a Facebook user, you know that their magical algorithms choose a bunch of photos for you to display, if you choose, as the highlights of your year in Facebook photos. But your own memory can do better: consider the events that comprised 2014, and look for where God was at work in your life through those events.

This may not be a quick undertaking. You may need to set aside an hour, or even the better part of a day, to ponder, prayerfully, what God has done through the events of your life in the past year.

One of the values of doing this is to quicken your sense of being able to see God’s hand at work in your life this year. Even if you consider last year your annus horribilis, it will still be a good exercise to see where God was at work, even in the midst of your suffering or trials. And I can tell you this: God was at work in you, and God is at work in you. That, if nothing else, should give you cause to start this new year with rejoicing.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there” (Psalm 139.7-8, NIV).

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