New Year's Eve (2023)
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we are in the midst of Christmas season and another year is coming to an end. For tonight we have a wonderful lesson that reminds us regardless of where our hope and comfort rests. It is not in a changing world, it is not in the works that we have done this last year or the works that plan to do in the year to come. No our hope and comfort rests in the sure hands of Christ and there is nothing in this world that shall separate us from it.
Paul in his letter to the Romans assures them of this glorious hope that we have in Christ our Lord and that there is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God in Christ our Lord. There is something as a year comes to a close that causes us to look back at the world and consider them all.
Over the course of the year, we can see the ups and downs that the world throws at us, but we can also see our regrets and failures to live as we should. Where we have failed and disappointed not just ourselves, but family, friends, and even failed to hallow God’s name and live as his Children.
There may also have been loss in this last year, the loss of worldly treasures, like finances, health, friendships, and loved ones. This could be not just the loss of a job, but through sickness, death, or arguments and divisions between us. Now some of those we have some measure of power or control, but the others are in God’s hands alone. There is a lot that can happen in a year.
It is good tonight to also remember the gift that the Father has given to us, that He did not just send us woe in this life, but He is the one from whom we are to expect all good in times of trouble, the one that we can turn to in every hour of need. For our Scripture passage here tonight reminds us that He has blessed with the gift of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
When we look at everything that Christ went through we see that God did not abandon us in the difficulties moments of our life, He sent Jesus to join us in them. For when we look back at this year, or any time we have gone through struggle and trial, having someone there with us is great comfort having someone with us.
Jesus showed his great love for us by where he joined us. He wasn’t born to a family that had a ton of money, when Mary and Joseph bring the offering for him, it is the offering that the poor make. Which means if we lose earthly goods, Jesus is still with us. Even though He was not himself sick, He wasn’t afraid no matter the illness, he was willing to touch Lepers and he spent hours bringing himself to the point of exhaustion to heal those who were sick and ill.
He wept at the death of dear friends, and brought comfort to those who were overcome with sorrow. This is why Paul asks, who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword? None of it can cut us off from Christ. Who joined us in all of these things so that we might be assured, he is not the God who is only with those whose lives are perfect and wonderful. Even in the darkest of moments, He remains with us.
What about our sins? What about the wrongs that we have committed, for Christ committed no sin, and the Father was always pleased with Him, whereas us, we are poor miserable sinners. He could not join us in committing sin, for He is God, and sin is an abomination and a corruption. So He could not join us in committing sin, but what He did instead is He took upon himself our sins, our debts, and our punishment. He experienced the wrath of God against sin, and gave up His spirit that He might enter into the valley of the shadow of death for you. Then He rose again and promised to bring us through it to be with Him.
So where is Jesus now? He is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us that we might be granted entrance to the Kingdom of God. For when we stand before the throne of God in Judgment we have one who understands and sympathizes with us. This is why Paul can joyfully say, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For what Jesus has accomplished for us by His incarnation, dwelling with us and being with us in all of these moments, and even bearing your sins and pleading for you. You can see why the Scriptures say that nothing can separate us from that love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, look at everything He has done to save you. Even when those that He has saved turn their back on Him, and walk away from salvation even though they lose salvation, He still looks to the day that they might be restored as the Prodigal Son was.
So as we look at ahead to the coming year unsure of what is to come, we know that Christ will be with us as he was through this past year. That even though tribulations may come, Christ became incarnate to be with us in them. Even though we might be filled with distress and anxiety, he is there with us. We might be hungry, but he knows what it is to fast, to lose all that he has and to have even his life threatened.
So let the new year come, we have nothing to fear for Christ is with us, and He will not forget about us in the darkest and lowest moments, for that is exactly where He went when he walked this earth, that we might find him there with us. We can weather any storm for Christ is with us.
That means we can look forward to this year with great joy for Christ is not with us to destroy us, but rather to show His great love toward us. So when we have the good days we can be glad as anyone person would, and when God sends the days of sorrow, we don’t have to be dismayed for we are not alone Christ is with us. With that firmly in mind, what do we have to fear in the year ahead? For no matter what 2023 throws at us Christ is with us, and He has sent to us the Holy Spirit who is known as the comforter, and encourager.
So my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, let us rejoice as Christ comes to us this night in, with, and under bread and wine to give us His body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins, and assures us once again, that He is with us always until the end of the age. A day that we look forward to with great joy. In Jesus name. Amen.