2nd January 2017

As New Year Fades…

“…The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done. And there is nothing new under the sun.”
Ecclesiastes 1:8-9 (NKJV) 

As usual I stayed up until midnight to see in the new year. There were the usual high jinks, parties and fireworks, and it was all very jolly. I don’t do depression, so I wasn’t fazed by it, but I have to say as I watched it, a sense of realism led me to conclude that I had seen all this before. I remember watching a film about a Times Square celebration of around 1924, the pictures from which, apart from being in black and white, could have been used for 2016. Solomon may have gloomily opined that there is nothing new, but actually that becomes one of our strengths as a species—we are eternally optimistic. Perhaps one of the reasons Christ delays his coming—we have to be convinced beyond any reason that our way of life just doesn’t work. At the present, we’re not convinced. “Just a little more time….” How much proof do we need?

And then we also get used to things—another of our strengths and weaknesses. Ezekiel tells us God remembers those who sigh and cry for all the abominations done in the world. But we get used to them and we don’t sigh and cry. There’s a murder at least once a week in London—and that isn’t just better reporting. Our Victorian forebears would be aghast at our complacency. People still starve to death in our society. On our hospital wards and in our old people homes the elderly are seen to be at risk from those who are supposed to care for them.

And yet, you see, statistically we are a nation of givers, more so per head of population than any other nation. One might ask concerning Syria, why isn’t Saudi Arabia or one of the other oil-rich states contributing to help these people? Or China? Their contribution for one recent Filipino disaster was reputed to be a mere few thousand dollars.

And that’s why all those people along the Embankment singing Auld Lang Syne, cheering loudly and kissing policemen, when at other times they would be throwing petrol bombs at them, can truly welcome in a new year. No matter it will turn out just like all the years before. The news won’t improve, their living standard probably won’t get better. But there’s always hope, you see.

Our hope, on the other hand, as Christians is founded on a much surer foundation than mere hope. Our future is secure in the faith we have in Jesus Christ and his plans for the future. Yes, we can cheer in a new year because, at the very least, it brings us a step closer to our goal. But let us use the sheer repetitiveness of the optimism of our nations, founded on nothing more than an unknown, uncertain future, keep us focused, keep us sighing and crying, and above all praying: Thy kingdom come!

Heavenly Father, you made us the way we are, with our hope and despair, our love and hate, and you love us despite everything bad that we are, and everything good that we are. Bless you, Father, and thank you for your unswerving mercy toward us.

Study by John Stettaford


About the Author:johnstettaford
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School,
Room A1 (Main Building)
Honey End Lane

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford
Phone: 01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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2 Responses to “2nd January 2017”

  1. John Rodgers on January 3rd, 2017 12:56 am

    Hello John
    I was enjoying your day by day and totally agreeing with you until I came to the second last paregraph.
    I very much doubt that the people along the Embankment who were kissing policemen would at other times be throwing petrol bombs at them.
    This statement should not have been made (or allowed to be printed) unless you have proof .
    However apart from that statement your effort was very commendable.
    Thank you
    John Rodgers.

  2. Alisondonaldson on January 5th, 2017 8:23 am

    Thank you John Stettaford. You have the real writer’s gift of putting into words things that others of us feel. A real gift from God. I like the bit about the British being givers way out of proportion to their numbers.I have just seen the comment from John Rodgers though..And realise I had a niggling doubt about that.I travelled with Middleborough fans travelling from Manchester. They had just lost to Manchester but it was a resigned atmosphere. They had a few cans with them but it was a sort of jovial gathering with Dad’s who had taken their sons for a day out. Two policemen stood near me.and there was a sort of understanding that neither party would accept any unfair treatment from the other. There was a bit of ribbing going on but I felt the y were mostly young lads having a break from their everyday worries. I was grateful for the family atmosphere and the police presence both.

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