For many, Christmas is a bitter sweet experience. For some it is more bitter than sweet. Somehow the Christmas season brings a heightened expectation of life. The real Christmas story has well and truly been mugged by Western materialism and sentimentalism. Eternal hope has all but been displaced by seasonal hype. And it’s created an environment that is not an easy one for people who come to the end of the year carrying all sorts of losses and disappointments.
So as we approach the end of the year, how do we say “Goodbye” to 2016?
If you have had a “good” year you might not want to say “Goodbye” to 2016! But you still have to! The best thing you can do is to thank God for the way He has blessed you.
But what about those for whom 2016 has been a year of difficulty or a year of loss?
Realistically, changing the date from 2016 to 2017 doesn’t necessarily change anything. But the season of Christmas and new year is a good time to look to God for His help to leave behind those things that are causing us hurt and pain.
How do we do that?
In Psalm 37, David was clearly struggling with something that was painful to him. Stated briefly, his issue seemed to be that God was blessing bad people while he was struggling. As the Psalm unfolds we see how David began to walk out of his difficulty into the clear light of God’s revelation.
First of all he faced his pain.
Verse one says : Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong. That was the issue for David: people who are doing wrong seem to be doing well. And perhaps he wasn’t doing so well.
That might not be your issue, but whatever your issue, you can’t begin to move beyond it until you acknowledge it.
Secondly, he developed a godly perspective.
If you read through all forty verses of the Psalm you will be able to trace a whole line of counsel that shifts David’s focus on to God.
Let me give you six ways in which he began to develop a godly perspective:
Develop an eternal view (vv.1-2)
Trust –and do good (v.3)
Enjoy God for who He is (v.4)
Commit your way to Him (v.5)
Be still and wait for Him (v.7)
Manage your negative emotions (vv.7-8)
If over the next few months you gave yourself to developing the kind of perspective that David developed, your outlook would be changed and your heart would begin to find healing.
Finally, he embraced God’s promises.
We often say that we don’t know what the future holds. That is true. We don’t know details about future events.
Yet in another sense we do know what the future holds. How? Because God has given us promises about the future.
Here are five that are set out in Psalm 37:
Protection and plenty (vv.18-19)
Ability to bless others (v.21)
Solid ground (vv.23-24)
The call to let go of the past is also a call to lay hold of the future.
I hope 2016 has been a good year for you. If not, I hope that by God’s grace you will leave the year with a fresh perspective and a strong grip on the promises of God.