Revelation 21:1-6 (NRSV)
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples,and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
It has been said you cannot step into the same river twice, because the water is always flowing and is never the same from moment to moment…
So too are our lives like a flowing river, as life is constantly in a state of flux. Being parents we know this all too true as we have had the opportunity to guide our children through the process of growing up, and have seen them grow from infancy to adulthood. We know that once we get used to any routine, it will change!
In this light we can understand today’s scripture reading from the book of Revelation not as a warning about how things pass away, but as hope in the knowledge that for every ending there is a new beginning!
Looking at it this way, we can see that each new day, each new moment offers us the chance at a fresh start, to do things differently, or to stick with what works, as we are raising our children and living our lives. However, today as we are on the cusp of a brand new year, this change can seem so much more imminent to us, as the coming of a new year is a milestone in our lives! This is why so many make New Year’s Resolutions, promises to themselves (that many find hard to keep) because they see the start of a new year as a new opportunity for growth!
That said, we know that change can be scary, or at least uncomfortable, as it can takes us into the unknown, out of what we are used to, and bring us to a new place. Unfortunately, we have learned is that change is not always for the best: some years have brought great success and joy, and other years have been filled with trial and loss; but most years are a mixture of both, because THIS is the way that life works…especially as we are busy raising children!
It is when we are facing the uncertainties of the future that our faith can help us, for as the old saying goes “Fear and faith cannot live in the same house”. Our faith can give us hope in the belief that we are all living in the midst of God’s gracious love, and therefore are never alone in the challenges we face. This faith in God’s love can keep us going through any trial, making our way easier, while making any success all the more sweeter, both because they are shared with others.
And it is our faith that can help us to stay in the moment, rather than beating ourselves up for mistakes made in the past, or stressing over what has not happened yet, and may never happen at all. Faith can remind us that we are always safely in God’s hands, and that these same hands also hold our children tightly, even in the face of the mistakes that are made, by them and by us.
So as we begin this new year, let us pause, say a prayer, and hold our loved ones close, as we look with faith toward the blank page which is the new year, with new stories waiting to be told.
Let Us Pray:
Dear God, thank you for the gift of today, and for the gift of new beginnings, and for the grace that supports us in all we do. Help us to look to the new year with hope and faith, and to not get too far ahead of ourselves as we move into the uncertainties of change. Let us remember the importance of staying in the ‘now’ and the joy of living as single parents…right where we are! And the good news that we are never alone as we continue our journey through life.