Thursday, January 5, 2023

A Hope-filled New Year

By: Donna Bucher 

Running as fast as possible toward 2023, with the delusion that the new year promises relief describes many people I know. This thinking implies a tick of the clock and a turn of a calendar page changes everything.

Yes, weariness and disappointment plague me too. I fell prey to the foolish “after this” mindset. Week after week, month after month of telling myself, “after this change, restriction, loss…things will improve”.

Resulting in a semi-permanent state of disappointment and discontent. Ultimately creating the urge of fleeing that which I can’t control. But honestly, stepping into the new year with hope remains both my strongest desire and greatest challenge.


“Out with the old and in with the new” pushes us ahead with little reflection on how we arrived to this moment of transition.

It also leaves us with thoughts that the “old” has no value, while the “new” offers everything we want. Yet fully appreciating the new apart from valuing lessons learned from the old, is not possible.

Taking a backward glance before stepping into the new year opens our eyes to God’s work in our lives, the lives of others and our world.

We see clearly instances of His mercy, grace, love, provision and faithfulness, perhaps when we did not see them initially. Spending time reflecting on how God showed up throughout the year, creates space for gratitude which sets off a chain reaction that leads to hope.


Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15


The apostle Paul illustrates this truth in Colossians 3:15-17: exhorting us to let the peace of God rule in our hearts, and to be thankful. This thankfulness results in praise to God, releasing an aroma of thankfulness, which transforms others, our circumstances and testifies of God’s goodness to all.

We may think of thankfulness as an affection resulting from God’s good provision for us, but it is in fact a discipline. We must choose gratitude, fighting to see God’s goodness in the darkest times.


Hardship and distress birth gratitude.

While the past year may have offered much in the way of hardship and distress, every year brings a measure of the same. When we take time to fully acknowledge the trials, disappointments, and losses of each year through the lens of gratitude, we reap a harvest of hope.

Sitting with God on the precipice of a new year, we can look back with gratitude for His presence, provision and protection in every circumstance.


Giving thanks to God in fair weather is good, proper and right. But real gratitude is not a fair weather friend.

If you find you are unable to thank God in the valley, perhaps your mountaintop gratitude lacked genuineness. Perhaps it only indicated a contentment in the comfort and security of the moment.

Those who thank God in the valley, had their hearts firmly set on God before they ever reached the valley.


Stepping into the new year with hope means we have confidence in the fact that God goes before us. No matter how many more valleys we may travel through, we have plenty of reasons for thankfulness.

Having passed time in reflection of the past year through the lens of gratitude, our perspective alters.

Evidence of God’s faithfulness in every circumstance fills our heart with confident assurance of His presence with us in the new year.


Ultimately merging all hopes for the new year into one hope; that of knowing Christ more intimately through each circumstance that awaits us.

With our hope focused on knowing Christ through each circumstance, we learn reliance on God, rather than in ourselves or events. That hope cannot fail regardless of what the new year offers.

May we step into this new year armed with evidence of God’s faithfulness, and our hearts centered on the single hope of knowing Christ more deeply throughout.


How can you spend time in gratitude for the past year?




Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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