We begin a New Year – 2022 A year filled with opportunities, challenges and possibilities. We enter this New Year with the same Savior by our side. The hymn writer encourages us, “With the Lord begin your task Jesus will direct it. For His aid and counsel ask; Jesus will perfect it.” These are not idle or pointless words. They are your reality. The Savior, whose birth we have just celebrated remains ever present to guide and direct you. The calendar might change. The LORD’s mercy will never change.
The coming of Jesus into our world changes everything. For we do not have a God who was too proud to know His people. Or, a God content to rule from a great distance. Or, a God whose majesty was too awesome for us to behold. We have just the opposite. Jesus, the son of Mary and her husband Joseph, experienced the very same humanity, the very same problems, and the very same challenges that you do.
No, you do not walk this road alone. Jesus is the God who came down from heaven. He was that man. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds, we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:3-5
Your heavenly Father is completely responsible for your salvation from front to back! You don’t wake up one day and suddenly decide to follow Jesus – Rather, He plants the seed of faith into your heart. He then nourishes that faith by giving you His eternal Word, which is able to make us wise unto salvation.
This is what St. Paul reminds us when he tells us “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Pay close attention to the clear words, and the gentle voice of your Good Shepherd, Jesus, who says, “All that which the Father gives me shall come unto me; and he that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.” – John 6:37
By faith, we knew of this reality that when God pardons, He does not say He understands your weakness or make allowances for your errors. Rather, He disposes of, finishes with, the whole of your dead life and raises you up with a new one.
He does not so much deal with your failures as does He drop them down the black hole of Jesus' death. He forgets your sins in the darkness of the tomb. He remembers your iniquities no more in the forgetfulness of Jesus' death.
He finds you in the desert of death, not in the garden of improvement. And in the power of Jesus' resurrection, He puts you on His shoulders, rejoicing, and brings you home!
Faith teaches us to understood grace. And Grace is karma's worst nightmare; with grace, we get the exact opposite of what we deserve. Grace is found in the God who loves us all; who loved us even unto death, even death on a cross.Some face the future tentatively and cautiously because of uncertainty. Whatever we face in the future however, it will be the Lord Himself who has promised to direct us. With His guidance in our lives, we are blessed. With the Lord leading, sustaining, and directing us, we can face the future with courage no matter what might come our way. He leads, we follow, and together we are blessed.
 Collect for New Year’s, The Lutheran Hymnal © 1941 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
 Robert Farrar Capon, Parables of Grace, pg. 39