Maybe it’s a sunset. Maybe it’s seeing a Humpback whale breaching alongside your tour boat. Maybe it’s the initial sight of a newborn baby. Maybe it’s an unexpected pair of tickets to that game. Maybe it’s the view from a mountain peak after an arduous ascent. Maybe they’re just boarding passes (have you ever kissed one?) to that much-in-doubt flight connection. We all have things that can take our breath away in a stirring up of awe. They are rare and beautiful (to us as the beholder) and well beyond our ordinary. Sometimes they are accompanied by laughter/tears, and gratitude eloquently expressed in silence. They are memory makers, high points, red letter days. They are lengthy journal entries, photos in albums, in the cloud, in our minds. They are jolts of joy energizing us, transporting us up and away from the present moment to higher climes. They are mini celebrations of our humanity, of our surprising ability to have emotional responses of this magnitude.
It may have been so for twelve guys chosen to travel and learn from Jesus, this very ordinary-looking guy but with extraordinary teachings and the ability to perform stunning miracles, the chutzpah to confront and confound the religious elite, to advance undaunted in the most terrifying circumstances, to be determined to do what he needed to do regardless of the outcome. These guys knew Jesus intimately but wondered who he was at one and the same time. They became familiar with the sound of his voice but were often shocked at the words he would say. They enjoyed the stories he told, but often missed the fine points, the lesson contained within.
It may be so for us as well as we daily resume our journey to the Father’s heart. We may ‘know’ Jesus, we may love and worship him, read Scripture, have Christian fellowship, attempt to avoid the things of this world, check our language, but it may have been a long time since we’ve been amazed by him, rendered speechless by him, thoroughly overwhelmed by his friendship and his compassionate caring, brought to our knees (literally or figuratively) by an answer to prayer. Yet,“Jesus, the Anointed One, is always the same – yesterday, today, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) “Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change.” (James 1:17) This begs the questions: Should we anticipate some show-stopper God moments in 2023? Do we get jazzed at the prospect? Are we brave enough to ask for more? As Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “There’s nothing worse than someone else’s good time.” So, in that spirit, I say let’s think ‘new’ and even expect ‘new’ in this New Year – and let’s get ready for more! PD