Go forth. Go forward.

THE YEAR is nearly over. Are you reflecting on the past year? Life is hard, even brutal, sometimes. But it’s also beautiful. The failures, victories, wins, and losses — what sticks in your mind from this year coming to an end?

Maybe you haven’t even thought about it. But no matter where you are now, no matter how good or bad things look, there is an important message that speaks to you — if you want to listen — if you dare to care.

You might have hit a rough patch right now, or maybe you’re flying high. But one thing is for certain, one thing is for sure. You are here. You are alive, here and now. Never, ever underestimate the value of your life.

You might be bored out of your mind. You might feel things didn’t turn out the way you hoped. You might even feel worthless or sad. Or maybe you just want to run away from it all.

But wait. Hold still. And remember.

As the year fades away, look back and learn. Go ahead, admit your shame and failure. Few things can be better for you. But then lift your head and look forward with hope. Dig deep and tap into the core of your faith once again.

You are here because somehow you persevered. Remember, life is hard, for everyone. But you made it through the year. You did not give up on life. You are doing your best, or at least your best for now.

Yes, things can be better for you — for some, much, much better. But as long as you have life, anything is possible. And with God, all things are possible. Never forget this promise.

So gear up for the new year. It’s right around the corner. I’m not talking about empty resolutions that quickly fade away. Keep in mind that the future is coming. And like always, it will be hard — maybe even brutal. Challenges unlike any other time in history will appear.

So prepare for the struggle. Get ready to be a stronger, more solid, and highly focused version of yourself. Start telling yourself now, I can do this thing called life.

I will not blame people or circumstances for my problems. I will not depend on them for my well being either. I will trust and seek the Lord relentlessly.

I will find rest in God — as He is life and He is love. I will not be afraid, no matter what the world throws at me. I can be generous. I can be kind. And I will rejoice in the Lord.

The world is full of noise, conflict, and confusion. Even though we’ve never been more informed, we’ve never had less clarity about things either. Truth is manipulated and distorted for all kinds of hidden motives. And only partial truths are revealed.

We all want to know the truth — and some go crazy trying to discover it. But instead of telling you the truth about others and the world, God wants to tell you the truth about yourself.

So as you say goodbye to the old year, yearn for the new. Do not dread it. Do not be afraid. We will all need a safe vessel — and each other — to get through to the other side.

And may your center of centers be Jesus Christ. I do not speak of religion, but of the Man and of God. If you seek to know his words and deeds, it will forever challenge you and change you. If you look to be guided and nourished by his Spirit, he will never, ever let you down.

And what you thought was impossible about yourself, he will make it possible — if you seek him — if you trust — if you believe.

Do not think, even for a second, that it will be easy. Don’t fool yourself. Nothing of value ever is. And your life has great value.

Jesus died on the cross, and rose from the dead, for your life to be everlasting and full of joy. Gain strength, courage — and humility — from this truth.

So hold tight unto God Almighty. Cling to him. And move forward into the New Year ready for anything, come what may. 

. . . . . . .

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

Luke 2:19-20

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