New Year’s Day
“Memories should endure. Unless we know where we came from, something about the road we traveled as a people, how can we know who we are and where we are going.” –Hal Borland, an American author who was born in Sterling, NE in 1900.
Turning the calendar into a new year holds two things in tension. Where have we been, and where are we going? If we look to the future without learning from the past, we are doomed to repeat the failures of the past. If we look to the past without a vision for the future, we will never grow. New Year’s Day is a unique gift to us because we hold the past and future together in a helpful tension, looking to the future with hope and to the past with gratitude. As Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
I invite you to grab a piece of scratch paper or a journal and make three lists, or you may choose to quietly reflect on these questions. First, I want you to list the biggest events that shaped our world in 2020. Second, I want you to list the biggest events that shaped your life personally in 2020. Third, I want you to list the biggest events that shaped our church and your faith in 2020.
After you have finished making these lists, I want you to reflect on the following questions:
- Where did the events of the world, your life, the church, and your faith intersect? Where did they not intersect?
- Where did you see God’s love, grace, peace, or power in the events of the world, your life, the church, or your faith?
Based on what you learned from 2020 and the ways you witnessed God’s action in 2020, now I want you to write three short prayers, or you may quietly pray these prayers in your heart:
- What is your prayer for the world in 2021?
- What is your prayer for your life in 2021?
- What is your prayer for the church and your faith in 2021?
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
Written by Pastor Eric Bostrom
Pastor Eric has served the Sheridan family since July 2012 and works in the areas of pastoral care and adult education. After service in the Marine Corps and Naval Reserve, he graduated from Midland University in Fremont, NE and Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH. Before coming to Sheridan, he served a three-point parish in and around Ceresco, NE with his wife, Pastor Rhonda, followed by calls to campus ministry at UNL’s Lutheran Center and redevelopment ministry at Faith Lutheran in Seward, NE. Pastor Eric completed Seeking the Spirit Within, a program of the Nebraska Synod for spiritual direction formation and is a Certified Spiritual Director. Pastor Eric loves reading the Bible, baseball, running, music, and the latest technological gadgets. He and Rhonda have two children, Annika and Soren.