What did your 2018 look like? Don't freak out. You read that right. I'm asking if you remember much from nearly 2 years ago. It very well could be that you remember a few monumental things that happened that year. Maybe you bought a house or a car. Maybe you started a new relationship or ended a toxic one. Maybe you attempted a try-out for the Chicago Cubs and are now a starting pitcher getting paid millions of dollars to play the game you love. Ok, more than likely that last one didn't happen (but I'll keep daydreaming about it). All things considered, the odds are that most of us can't remember much that happened last week let alone two years ago. Again, don't freak out. It's something we all struggle with throughout our lives.
While pursuing my Bachelor's Degree, I minored in Psychology purely because the way we as humans work has always fascinated me. One of the courses that I took was on the subject of Abnormal Psychology which involved a few chapters focused exclusively on memory. The unfortunate outcome that I mentioned earlier was a part of a book that our professor recommended titled "The Seven Sins of Memory" which is on my reading list for this year (a little late I know, seeing I graduated 4 years ago). Anyway, the process of forgetting over time is called "Transience Memory" and it is when the brain swaps out older memories to make room for new ones. The more time that goes by between an experience and when you want to remember it, the more likely you are to have forgotten much of it. This is why we have a harder time remembering things that happened 2 years ago. Our memories from 2019 have taken over most of them and more than likely 2020 memories will do the same for our memories of last year. It's not a bad thing necessarily. It's just a flaw in our nature. Or is it?
Isaiah 43:18-19 has the answer. "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert." Forgetting is part of being a Christian. For goodness sake, it's what God does every day when we repent! Forgetting isn't a flaw, it's a God-given gift. No, I am not saying that you should be thankful when you forget where you put your keys the morning that you are already late to work. That's just called having a bad day. It does prove my point though. More than likely, you had some bad days in 2018 and probably 2019 too. There is the chance that you remember a few of those specifically, but I can guarantee you can't remember every single one of them. Why? Because we were made to forget the former things. Forget the things that so easily beset (Bible way of saying trip) us. Did you sin in 2018? Yes. Did you repent? Hopefully. Therefore, you can forget. Don't remember the things you did or the things that were done to you years ago and let it keep you from the "New Thing" God wants to do in 2020. If you want to remember something, remember all the times his grace was sufficient and his mercy was made new.
Forget the former things. Look for the new things.
Rachel was a preschooler and she had a problem with waking up in the middle of the night and growing frightened. The only thing that could calm her fears was running down the hall and crawling into bed with her parents. Hoping to fix this, Rachel’s Dad tucked her into the lower bunk on her bed one night and said, “Go to sleep, honey. I will be back later and will sleep in the top bunk.” She thought it was a great idea and she fell asleep immediately. A few hours later, when her father came to the room, she was still sleeping. He quietly crawled into the top bunk and stayed there the rest of the night. The next morning, he congratulated his daughter on sleeping the full night in her own bed. She said, “It was because you were in the room with me, Dad.” "But, how did you know I was there?" he asked. "You were asleep when I came in and you never woke up the whole night." Rachel answered, “Because you said you would be there.”
To Rachel, that was all she needed - a promise! That was enough. A promise can see you through the night. Our heavenly father promised to come to us. In the dark of the night, while Bethlehem suffered under the combined oppression of King Herod and the Roman Empire, He came softly as a baby to Bethlehem. When the angel appeared and declared “I bring you good tidings of great joy” there was a ray of light that split the darkness. Jesus came without the lavish life that he should have been afforded, but His coming was like a “light shining in the darkness”.
Max Lucado wrote:
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.
In the nativity we are blessed to see a God that cared so much that he robed himself in the flesh of mankind and came to live a life as an example unto us. We do not witness a God who sent someone else to save us. He did not and could not simply make a new commandment. The only way to save His finest creation was to come in the imperfectness of flesh to show us the way home. He came to bring hope to a world that has no hope! He came to dispel fear in a world that is full of panic and dread! He is the one that Isaiah gave many titles to, who has only one name:
He is Wonderful.
He is Counselor.
He is the Mighty God.
He is the Everlasting Father.
He is the Prince of Peace.
Bethlehem’s Child is the man with many titles, but He has only one name! Matthew 1:21 reads "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS : for he shall save his people from their sins." That’s the promise we really need. Not just that Jesus is going to be there to see us through the night, through the trial, through the season, or even through the uncertainty of our life, but that he can save us from the sin that seeks to destroy us. If you haven’t availed yourself of this most perfect promise, seek the Savior today, for He is calling you.
Thank God for the promise,