Stepping into a new year: What our hearts most need to know

We’re standing on the threshold of a new year, about to step inside.
And we’ve already entered a new year—on Nov 29 with the first Sunday of Advent, the start of a new church calendar year.
I’m so glad that we spend a month watching for Christ’s coming before we turn the pages on our calendars to January 1, because what I need to know most as I head into this new year I learn again during Advent and Christmas each year:
God is for us.
He has given us Himself, not as a one-time baby-in-a-manger gift, but as an I-want-to-be-with-you-forever gift. His heart still beats the same rhythm of love as it did when he entered our flesh and came to live among us. In us.
Whatever this year may hold, we need never doubt that we are loved. We need never fear that we are alone. As God leads us into this new year, He offers us now what He offered us then: Himself, with all His love.
He may not heal all our illnesses or solve all our problems. He may not take us out of difficult situations. (He came into the stable, shaped a life out of wilderness places and crowds and conflict, and made his way to the cross.) But He will always be present to love us in those places, offering hope and wholeness of the sort that comes with the certainty of being forever held.

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