On this evening as I write my musing for December 31, my mind is wandering to Year 2023. What keeps coming to my mind is “will this year be any different than 2022?” Change is always in the air, and none of us have a ‘crystal ball’ as we dive into another year, but we do have our hopes and dreams of what we would like to see in our lives, our country, and our world. If we were honest with our own mind and hearts, we would want 2023 to be exactly what we want for a change, which is our proverbial problem of being sinners, and has been since time began!
I spoke with a friend of mine the other day and she told me she is not looking forward to anything in 2023. “Nothing at all?” I asked her, “nope” she said and it was with such finality I didn’t want to probe. I suspect many people feel that way today. We live with much turmoil, violence, wars, deadly weather—and so much more that who wants to think “what 2023 might be?” And I can understand that. My deteriorating back is setting me back and, in all honesty, I’m cranky—I don’t like not doing things I love to do, period! (I hear you chuckling.)
My prayers lately have asked God for a new spine; the answer “my grace is sufficient for you.” Really? We have to take Paul’s route—but God is right on. We want instant healing, instant gratification, instant change from tough to easy…let’s put it out there: we want what we want and if we don’t get what we want we aren’t happy.
Oh, how this must hurt the heart of God who has given us ALL that we need. Just think back a few days ago as we celebrated the gift of the Christ in the Manger. What can top that kind of gift? Max Lucado said it best when it comes to what the gift of Christ really is:
- He became like us, so we could become like Him.
- Angels still sing and the star still beckons.
- From Isaiah 9:6—God has given a Son to us. His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, and Prince of Peace.
Wow—this is our gift not just for Christmas 2022 but for all the hopes and dreams we are looking forward to in 2023! But you say, “Ok for you, Cyndy, but this isn’t what I really want.” And therein is our deepest angst. Whether it is Christmas, our birthday, etc., we are stuck on our needs which, for the most part, are what we want but could live without. But, oh, isn’t it so easy to “hit buy” on Amazon?!
My hope for 2023 is contentment. There is little we can truly change in this world, but we can, through the wisdom and guidance of the Lord, change our perspective, get out of our funk, discard our greed, and embrace the words of St. Paul from Philippians 4:11-12 [NIV]:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Paul’s perspective can be a tall-order for us living in an affluent country surrounded by things” that we believe we cannot live without. If we are to have hope in 2023, our first exercise would be to learn the difference of “wants vs needs” and then look back at this year and count the blessings God has given us that we often don’t even recognize! I think we would be quite surprised of what we have and how little we really “didn’t get.”
I want to close this weekend musing with a quote from the Rev. Dr. Donald Arthur Carson, an Emeritus Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and president and co-founder of the Gospel Coalition. This famous quote is from his book, A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers. May his words truly give you a new and hopeful perspective for Year 2023 and beyond! AMEN.