We’re standing on the threshold of yet another gift – a brand new year. As we reflect on the year we left behind, we sadly realize that some of our loved ones didn’t finish it with us. They were called into eternity, some even before we had a chance to say good-bye. We’re left with special memories to cherish and the hope that we’ll one day be reunited to celebrate together forever – experiencing the promise of John 3:16, For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.This brings to mind one more gift from God – free will. We use this gift with every decision we make in life; where we live, what we wear, how much we do for others… It sometimes takes a tragedy such as Sandy Hook School in Connecticut to remind us how the gift of free will is being abused. We cry out to God, we wonder why he allows things like that to happen, never finding any clear answers. But we do know that the same God who allowed His Son to be nailed to the cross for us, still reigns and provides strength and healing. This is evident in how those grieving Newtown parents dealt with the loss of their precious children; they chose love over hatred, forgiveness over bitterness, praying for the shooter’s family, thus, taking the first painful steps towards healing and peace of mind.
As we reflect on the year we’re leaving behind we have to admit, along with the things we did right, we made choices that led to regrets and stole some of our joy: We may have said hurtful things, left some good deeds undone or turned a blind eye to some person in need. Nevertheless, we now have a whole year in front of us to do with as we please. How will we impact the people who cross our path? How will we react to triumph and tragedy? Will this year of choices garner sound investments for our eternal destiny? The choices are ours to make.