January 1, 2020
The Old Testament reading for the first day of this new decade comes from Ecclesiastes 3: "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." The chapter continues with contrasting examples of what's included in "everything": living and dying, building and destroying, planting and harvesting, keeping and throwing away. There are seasons of peace and seasons of war. There are times when we distance ourselves from others and times when we embrace them. What strikes me about these observations in Ecclesiastes 3 is that the author notices these contrasting seasons without judging them. There's no commentary, no measuring of a season's worth, no insinuation that God prefers one season to another. But here the author simply and wisely begins with observation, speaking honestly about the condition we find ourselves in, and that's why it rings true in our hearts.
In what season of life do you find yourself at the turn of this new year? If you were to rewrite the opening verses of Ecclesiastes 3 to fit your life now, what contrasts would you use? "2019 was a time to _____, and 2020 will be a time to ____." "The last decade was a time to _____, but the next will be a time to ____." Try to avoid the temptation to insert your grandest ambitions into the second blanks in those sentences, or to insert your greatest gains or losses into the first blank. The more honest you are with yourself, the more fair you'll be in your description of the past and the more realistic in your expectations for the future. Notice the season, or the changing seasons, in which the Lord has you now. Then tell the Lord your hopes for the next season, and offer these days to him using the words of Psalm 31:15: "My times are in your hands."
Grace and Peace,