It is a fact that we can never really know where we are unless we have an awareness of where we have been. It is foolish to try to go back and live in the past. But it is an act of wisdom to remember it, reflect on it, and learn from it.
Any accurate inventory of the past will include some happy memories. We should hold on to those and carry them with us from one year to the next. Then when the road gets difficult, as surely it will, we can take out one of those memories and relive it. We can remind ourselves that good times are a real part of life. We had them before, we will all have to admit that we can see some mistakes as well. We do not like to remember that part of life. It is a painful experience to recall and relive our failures.
However, if we are truthful, we will all have to admit that we can see some mistakes as well. We do not like to remember that part of life. It is a painful experience to recall and relive our failures.
Our mistakes do cause a lot of suffering and a lot of sorrow for a lot of innocent people. By the things that we have done or left undone, by the words that we have spoken or left unspoken, we have hurt some people. It is a painful thing to look back on this part of life. But there are some reasons that we must remember our mistakes. First, to correct them, if we can. Second, to confess them and accept the forgiving grace of God. And third, to learn from them so that we will not repeat them over and over again. After we have done those three things, we should leave our mistakes in the past, where they belong. The good times, we carry with us and relive them. The failures, we repent of, learn from them, and then leave behind. They are nothing but excess baggage.
Now let us turn from the past to the future. What do you see when you look at 2020? The only thing we can really see is uncertainty. We cannot know what 2020 may hold. We can make educated guesses and some reasonable plans, but that is all. The details of the future are beyond our knowing and, for the most part, beyond our control.
But this should not disturb us, not if we have been to Bethlehem and have seen what the Wise Men saw. They, too, faced an uncertain future. But they had witnessed the incarnation, and they knew that God had not forgotten the world. He had come to live in it and to share the human experience with all people everywhere.
It is simply impossible to calculate the difference that knowledge has made in human hearts and hopes and history. The power behind life is not an unfeeling force, but a God who cares, knows each of us by name, and walks with us on the road of life. The infiltration of this concept has done more to put hope and courage into human life that any other concept the minds of people have ever held.
2020 is uncertain. But we face that uncertain future with confidence and hope because the God who is with us now will be with us then.