“THE YEAR OF OUR LORD”

HAPPY NEW YEAR…and AULD LANG SYNE…you know, “Should old acquaintance be forgot..and never brought to mind?”  Yep, it’s that time of the year again, “out with the old and in with the new”. It is a time for reflecting on what we have (or have not) done over the last twelve months and “making resolutions” for what we will attempt to do going forward. For me, this will be the 62nd time I have promised to do better in the coming year. Sometimes, I have made good on those promises, but more often than not, not so much.

Oh, trust me, it was not because I did not sincerely want to do better that I fell short. The truth is that the reason I often looked back with regret, this time of year, is because I am human…imperfect and prone towards failure. And as I look around me, I do not have to look too far before I discover that I am not alone in my struggles. Well thank God for that, “misery loves company” they say….LOL

But you know, for all of our efforts to “do better” and for all of the “want to”, the core problem might be that we are attempting to treat the symptoms while ignoring the real disease. You see, if we go back to the very beginning, back to the Book of Genesis, we find that the pattern of failure and trying again started right off with the very first two human beings, Adam and Eve. And they didn’t even wait until the end of that very first year to come to the realization that they had veered from the path of  “doing good”. No, it seems that they tried, in their own strength, to obey God and proved to be unable to do so. It became pretty clear, early on, that there is a part of our nature that, when given a choice, chooses badly. Oh, you haven’t noticed, you say?  Well, if you truly haven’t noticed, I am guessing there are people around you who have…..just sayin’.

Maybe the problem is not as much about our intentions or willingness to do what is right, as it is about where we look for the power to do so. Do we look within ourselves, relying on our own strength and convictions, believing that if we put our mind to it…we can accomplish just about anything?  Or are we willing to admit to ourselves that  we’ve “been there and done that” enough to know we are not. None of us are.  You are not alone.

Let me ask you a question, do you remember in days gone by (not very often these days) that when someone proclaimed what year it was, they would say, for instance, “In the year of our Lord, two thousand and sixteen…” or whatever the year might be?  Why did they do that, one might ask. Well it comes from an old Latin phrase, Anno Domini (which we have come to to know as AD). Some say that BC means “Before Christ” and that AD means “After Death”…referring to the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. At least with regards to AD, I think that cheapens or softens the real meaning of the intent of those letters, if you ask me.  If we think of AD as “After Death”, we keep it all neatly tucked away as “something from the past”.

Turns out the actual translation of AD, Anno Domini, is “In The Year Of Our Lord”. Yes, this year….the present. It just wasn’t “the year of our Lord” in the year that the blessed baby was born in Bethlehem, or the year that Jesus, who had not sinned, took the sins of the world upon Himself on Calvary’s Cross. No, 2016 was intended to be thought of as “the year of our Lord” and so is 2017. It’s true, it’s just another year. But God is still alive and Jesus is still Lord of all, believers and unbelievers alike.

So, what does that actually mean for you and me?  I believe it means that the answer to the question, “Why do I always fall short?”, lies upon what power source we are relying on today, tomorrow and next year, too.  If we rely on “self” we will be looking back at the end of 2017, just like 2016, saying as Snidley Whiplash so famously did, “Curses, foiled again!!”

But if we rely on the One of whom it was written, “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4), while I cannot say “you will not have struggles”, the Apostle Paul promises me that ” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)….in this “year of our Lord” and the next.

So as we cross the threshold from one year to the next, from 2016AD to 2017AD, it might be “just another year” or it might not.  The choice is mine and the choice is yours to make. 

What power source are you going to plug into, your own power or His?

I do sincerely wish you and yours a happy, blessed and joy-filled 2017 and beyond.

MAY GOD BLESS, 

BOB PALUMBO

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