Will 2021 be a happy new year?
As 2021 begins we're bracing ourselves for dark, difficult weeks ahead, but hopeful that Spring will bring light, says Rev Andrew Watson
I don't think anyone is sorry to say goodbye to 2020, a year of global pandemic and fear.
For many families it was a year of anguishing loss, for those in healthcare a year of unparalleled pressure.
For everyone it was a year of restriction and cancellation, frustration and disappointment.
We're bracing ourselves for some more dark, difficult weeks but praying that the Spring will bring some light and hope.
Christians worldwide have just celebrated the coming of 'Immanuel', 'God with us', when God the Son chose to live a while among His creation.
It's comforting to know that even in a general sense our Maker knows from experience what it's like to live in a vulnerable flesh and blood body in this hazardous, sin-cursed world.
The writer of Psalm 139 goes further, reflecting that God knows each one of us personally in amazing detail - when we sit, when we rise, every word, even what we're thinking.
He's not just 'with us', like a companion walking alongside. In a way probably beyond our ability to understand He is somehow way ahead of us.
Before we're born He has ordained how long we shall live. We are subject to surprise and shock in this life; He isn't.
The writer of the Psalm finds this awesome knowledge possessed by God to be strangely comforting.
It's not a dream, it's real. All the things we don't know yet about 2021; He does. All those challenges we will more than likely face; we don't have to face them alone.
The Psalmist decides to trust this 'all-knowing' God, to cooperate obediently, opening his life willingly to be known, inviting guidance that his choices might be pleasing to his Maker and Judge.
Even as he does he senses that this is a wise decision, the correct path, 'the way everlasting'.
I don't know what 2021 will bring. But it strikes me as a good idea to trust the one who does - who knows me yet, despite my persistent failures, loves me and gave His Son to redeem me for better times to come. What about you?
Rev Andrew Watson is minister of Cairncastle Presbyterian Church, Co Antrim.