Well, friends, here we are at the end of another year! The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us, and soon we will flip the calendar over to 2022.
As each month passed in 2021, we all experienced the ups and downs of “normal” life. Every day unfolds with surprises amid the routine. The ordinary is punctuated by the extraordinary and the unexpected. A text message, phone call, or a letter in the mailbox can change the entire trajectory of our day, can’t it?
We can lay out the best of plans, and sometimes circumstances fall right into place, and the plan goes forth as we hoped it would. But other times, the plan goes off the rails, and it feels impossible to get things back to where we think they belong!
What do you do when God’s plans aren’t quite the same as what you envisioned? Some of us like to be in control of the situation, and unpredictable outcomes are not comfortable for us. Others are great at just rolling with the flow. Some people are flexible and can adapt to whatever comes their way. Most of us probably land somewhere in the middle of those scenarios.
What would you have done if you were a young engaged girl in Nazareth, and you learned that you had been chosen by God to give birth to a baby who would one day become the Saviour of the world? Wouldn’t you want to know how it was all going to come to pass? Mary wondered about this herself - “How can this be?” she asked in Luke 1:34.
And if you were her soon-to-be husband - wouldn’t you want to know the details of how all of this was going to work out? There must have been so many questions!
The wonder surrounding the earthly arrival of Christ is just one of many situations in scripture that left people inquiring, “How can this be?” when the circumstances felt chaotic, unplanned, and unexplained. Have you ever been there?
It is fascinating that God gives each of us the ability to remember the past, to experience the present, but not to know the future. That is where FAITH steps in.
We do not know what the next hour holds, but God knows.
We do not know what 2022 holds in store for us, but God knows.
God had an excellent plan in place to redeem mankind, but the people that were a part of the story did not know all the details ahead of time. Just like us, they also had to trust in God, and wait for His perfect plan to unfold in front of them…and look what a beautiful and miraculous plan it turned out to be!
We can hold tightly to faith in God, and trust that He is always good, and that He always knows what is ahead. God is never in need of getting caught up on the details. He is never surprised, never uninformed, never caught off-guard. He knows every detail of every situation past, present, and future. He does not need to learn anything, He is omniscient. He will not miss anything, He is omnipresent. He is never late, He is always right on time. He is never too busy, never “in a meeting”, never unavailable, never off-line.
We live in times that may feel “uncertain”, but rest assured, friend - there is nothing uncertain to God about the times in which we live. He has a perfect plan in place. People may feel restless, fearful, apprehensive, and unsure about the future. But God already knows how all of these circumstances will play out. Hold tightly to the One who already knows what is up ahead. He will protect you and care for you and your family. He is trustworthy, and He is good.
If you feel anxious about the future, perhaps spend some time in the new year ahead getting to know God better. To know Him is to love Him! Get familiar with His ways, as shown to us in scripture. He is not a grumpy, old man sitting on an ancient, rickety throne in heaven, detached from the people below. He is not looking down from above, waiting to catch you doing wrong so that He can zap you with a punishing lightning bolt, and scare you into doing good. Read the book of 1 John and learn what a perfect and loving Father he is, and become acquainted with His comfort, His forgiveness, His goodness, and His loving kindness toward us.
At Christmastime, our attention is drawn to the baby in the manger. Most of us are very familiar with that beautiful story. But may we also become just as familiar with Jesus, the young man who grew up and became the loving Saviour for each one of us. Christ’s birth shows us a glimpse of God the Father - the Holy Creator of all things, who was created by no one. He always existed, and by Him, all other things exist. He is powerful beyond explanation. He is a giver, a benevolent, caring God who sees individual people and loves each of them uniquely. Yes, God loves everyone…but He uniquely loves YOU. He hears your prayers, He understands your struggles and your pain, and He wastes nothing. He welcomes you just as you are when you come into His presence through prayer. He does not hold us at arm’s length until we are good enough to come to Him. Jesus bridged that gap between God and us. Jesus is the one who makes possible our relationship with God. Jesus is the Reconciler who gives us unprecedented access to God. THIS is why Christmas is such a beautiful story, and why we celebrate the birth of Christ!
Our hope and prayer is that you would come to know God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is the only way to peace in this tumultuous world. Not only is He the way to peace - but he himself IS our peace (Ephesians 2:14). When you have Jesus as your Peace, he is always with you. You are never alone. You may have frightfully challenging circumstances swirling around you, but the peace of Christ will hold you steady in the midst of the storm. This kind of peace is available to everyone. It comes through trust in God, and faith in Jesus Christ.
Read the scriptures and get to know God. He will become your dearest friend, your greatest source of comfort, and your guide through 2022 and beyond.
Jan and the entire staff at Evilena’s wish you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! We are so grateful for your support throughout 2021. We have the BEST customers and consignors in the world! You bring so much joy to the store when you walk in to shop or to drop off items to consign. Because of you, our faithful customers, we have been able to offer aid to many local charitable organizations through your participation in events like the Garden Walk and in the collection of items for the Veteran’s Home in Manteno. Through your efforts, we have donated items to Morning Star Mission and other ministries on a regular basis. Your support is far-reaching, and only God truly knows how many people have been helped through your generosity and continued loyalty to shopping locally here at Evilena’s.
We appreciate you so much! May God abundantly bless you through the beautiful season of Christmas and in the New Year ahead!
Jan & the staff of Evilena’s Red Dresser
*Trish Boril is the author of most of our Evilena’s blogs, and I am so grateful that she is able to put my sentiments in writing so beautifully. - Jan Sabey