We have a family tradition that involves a Scavenger Hunt at this time of year. As the years go by, the clues get a bit more obscure, and the clues themselves are hidden in more remote places. This year, one of the hiding spots was on the roof–with a clue posted to the lightning rod. My goal was that this would be a memorable family experience where we climbed around on the roof in December in pursuit of a clue with questionable value. The people driving by my house at 4:00 am that morning when I was running around on the roof with a cell phone as my flashlight to hide the clue might have also had some memorable thoughts.
This has me thinking–what are some memorable events from 2019 that we are going to hold on to? What are some of the ‘God moments’ from 2019 that we want to be sure to treasure, and continue telling our family, friends, and even ourselves? We can spend so much time looking forward to 2020 that we neglect remembering where God has been faithfully leading and guiding us already.
Remembering is an incredibly important theme in Scripture. In Joshua 22 when the people of Israel are settling into their new lands and looking forward to their future in the promised land, they wanted to be sure that they remembered as a whole community: “26 Therefore we said, ‘Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we do perform the service of the Lord in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings, so your children will not say to our children in time to come, “You have no portion in the Lord.”’” Looking far into the future required remembering the past, together.
I hope that part of our preparations for 2020 is to remember 2019 well. Perhaps it was a year full of bumps, bruises, and disappointments. It might have been a year of joyous occasions and new experiences. Either way, it has been a year of walking with Jesus Christ. I would encourage each of us to spend some time reflecting on specific snapshots from the past year of God’s specific guidance or presence. Write it down. Remember it. Share it with those around us.
One of my favorite memories from this past year has been visiting churches and catching up with new and old friends. I have been encouraged hearing stories of church revitalization, of renewed passion for evangelism, of church planting, and of strides taken to cultivate healthy leadership. As I reflect on the stories of how God has been at work in a number of places, I look forward all the more to what 2020 has in store.
Grace and peace in the year ahead. As we lean forward, I am looking forward to hearing more of your stories of 2019.
Executive Director, Seventh Day Baptist General Conference of USA and Canada