Meditations for New Year’s Eve December 31, 2018
Text: Psalm 121 adapted from Beside Quiet Waters 18:2103
Meditation 1: Look Up, Not Down
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains….My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Ps.121:1,2
It’s not easy to look up when entering a new year. We would much rather follow the lead of the world and look down – to ourselves. It’s the way of our human nature.
Already as children we do this. “I do it myself,” pouts the little child whose shoes one is tying. “Leave me alone,” responds the teenager to whom we are trying to give advice. “That’s not the way to do it,” objects the adult when changes are proposed. “We’ve never done it that way before,” interjects the senior citizen who has had many experiences behind him. As human beings we tend to respond by looking at ourselves and our own way of doing things.
Now listen again to the psalmist. He didn’t write, “My help comes from me.” He wrote, “My help comes from the Lord.” Lose track of this and we’re in trouble. Who are we that we can help ourselves?
How mighty is our right arm to save us? How fool proof are our plans? How often do we fret and fail because we look in the wrong direction? How cautious and concerned aren’t we already about the New Year because we look down to our frail selves instead of up to an omnipotent God?
The psalmist has the comforting solution: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains….My help comes from the LORD.” Look up, not down tonight and throughout the year that lies ahead.
Prayer: Lord, help us enter the New Year with confidence – looking up to You. You made the heavens and earth. Surely, You can and will take care of us. Even more, help us look to the nail wounds in Your outstretched hands. They speak of a love that is solid and supreme. Nothing the New Year can bring can rip us loose from Your loving hands. Help us at all times look up to Your love and power that will safely guide us through another year of grace; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Meditation 2: No Need to Lose Any Sleep
“He will not let your foot stumble. He who watches over you will not slumber…He will not sleep. The LORD watches over you.” Ps.121:3-5
What does sleep do for you? Experts cannot fully explain the reason we need sleep. But we know it’s necessary for us in order to survive, just like food and water are necessary for us.
Research shows that after 5 days without sleep people begin to hallucinate. After more days without it, they begin to behave as though they were mad.
We’ve all lost sleep sometime due to travel, work, or some festivity. Sometimes we lose sleep because of cares and concerns. Have you never tossed and turned in the night because you were weighed down with some problem at home or on the job? Have you never waited sleeplessly for a child or spouse to return home safely? Have you never worried about doctors’ reports, unpaid bills, or insufficient funds in the bank? Many things may keep our eyes wide open though we try different remedies to close them in sleep.
And then there is the guilt for sin. What a sleep-depriver that can be to the serious child of God. “Can God forgive me again for what I’ve done?” “Won’t He get sick of me when I come with the same old problem time and time again?” “When will He slam the door in my face in disgust?”
If such thoughts grip our hearts, it’s time to hear the psalmist’s words again: “He will not let your foot stumble. He who watches over you will not slumber; He will not sleep.” He never slumbers nor sleeps over His promise to take care of us. He never closes His eyes on the forgiveness and life that the Savior won for us. His pardon, full and free, is always alive and covers us – morning, noon, and night. He will not let you slip, for Jesus’ sake.
Prayer: Lord, help me see there is no need for me to lose any sleep because You never close Your eyes to any of Your promises in my life. You haven’t closed Your eyes to me in the past and will not close them in the future for You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Your pardon in Christ covers my sin. Your power handles my problems. Your wisdom guides me safely in the heavenly direction. Because You never sleep, I can. Help me in faith sleep in peace throughout the year that lies ahead; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Meditation 3: “Look Back, Then Ahead”
“The LORD is your shade at the right hand. The sun will not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will watch to keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life. The LORD will watch over your going and your coming from now to eternity.” Ps.121:5-8
When the year changes, we naturally look back and evaluate or at least take note of the things we’ve experienced. True there were difficult times; perhaps even times of great sorrow. But were there no joys in the year gone by? No moments of love shared with family and friends? No happy achievements of family members? No successes on the job or personal endeavors? No lighter moments on the lake or at a ball game? Looking back, let’s not forget from whom such blessings flow. He can also grant them in the New Year, if they should be to His glory and our good.
But the backward look always involves something painful, too – the times I blew it again in my dealings with my fellowman; times when I tried so hard and yet fell right back into sin’s old ruts; times when the load of trouble seemed heavier than I could carry. But as I look back, where are many of those troubles now? Some are gone, lifted by the loving hand of an almighty God. Some may still linger. Still, I made it through the year in spite of them all because a gracious God watched over my life to keep me from harm. He helped me to bear them, yes, even to grow from them. Will such a gracious Lord forsake me now – in the year ahead?
I don’t know what to expect from the days that lie before me. But I don’t really need to know that right now. It’s enough for me to know not what the New Year holds, but to know Him who holds the New Year in His hand. It’s enough to know that He who watches over my life will watch over my going and coming from now to eternity. Not even the sun or moon can harm me forever.
Prayer: Lord, looking back and seeing Your care for me, I look ahead with confidence. It’s enough to know that You, and You alone, my gracious Savior, hold the future in Your hands. You went all out to save me and You will go all out to fill my life with those things that are good for me. Your love and forgiveness do not change, neither does Your care. Thank you for the blessings of the past and I look forward to those yet to come; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.