The best posture for facing a new year

She speaks of naming the years like she’s named babies “because each one births a different life that needs to be raised up and remembered.”

And I watch his three-year-old feet as he watches the water swish and swirl its way out of the washing machine into the sink and I think I know what this year asks to be called.

His feet say it all. Tiptoes.

I heard it too in the last chapel service of advent, the one on my birthday.

“. . . We gather in expectation

for joy is about to explode in our midst.

We gather in celebration

For we are those people who have said

Yes to the manger,

Yes to love enfleshed

Yes to the one incarnate for others

Yes to the wholeness of God! . . .”

(the Worship Sourcebook)

And I want to live this year in this tiptoe attitude, this “Yes!” stance, this posture of expectancy.

For in the end, is confident, thankful expectancy not the most appropriate posture for us welcomed ones to live in before God?

“It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he [Jesus] did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process. . . . .

So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place. . . .

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word.” (Hebrews 10:14-23, The Message)

Yes, there are seasons when we are so crushed that we can only lie at his feet and beg for mercy. We are always welcomed as we come empty.

But we are called not merely to plead for mercy but to receive the grace offered. Not merely to come broken but to accept healing.

The naming of this year is an invitation as well as a commitment, a pledge made by two. It’s a “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you” naming (Philippians 2:12-13). God invites us to this posture. He alone gives the grace to live in it. But we choose to receive the grace.

This convicts me, for too often fear still controls me and I live bent and bowed rather than head held high, confident in His love. I don’t understand why. Why, when God has given all I’ll ever need and more? Why, when He’s never failed me?

Why is it that, when I think of God’s blessings, his promises, I so often follow with a “but”? “I love what God is doing in this area, but I’m still struggling with that.”

I realize that what I say after the “but” is where my mind dwells and my heart lives. And I wonder. . . could I start this Year of Expectancy simply by turning my sentences around?

“God has never failed to provide, but I don’t know what this year will hold” becomes “I don’t know what this year will hold, but God has never failed to provide.” There’s a world of difference between the two. One lets fear win, one faith. One focuses on my inadequacy, the other on God’s extravagance. One only hears God’s promises. The other receives them.

Will you join me in letting 2011 be a Year of Expectancy?

Will you let the truth of God’s character complete all your sentences?

May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3: 18-21 New Living Translation)


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