Lively, Living

1 Peter 1:3 – “According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope ………”

According to American Family Physicians somewhere between 4-6% of the population of the United States suffer from seasonal affective disorder or wintertime depression, with another 15% of the population dealing with a little more feelings of sadness during the winter time. Interestingly enough this problem does not begin to affect people until they are past 20 years of age.

I certainly am not a counselor but as I read those statistics I couldn’t help but think “no wonder”. No wonder people are sad when the calendar turns from December into January. For weeks there has been all of the build up of Thanksgiving and Christmas and now the celebrations are over, the decorations have come down, the presents are opened, and most of the Christmas candy has been eaten. The New Year’s Eve celebrations are over, and the optimism of a New Year has faded. In many cases the New Year’s resolutions have even been broken. There are no holidays on the horizon for quite some time. Just cold winter days, with many people feeling they have nothing to look forward to.

Children (those under age 20) don’t suffer from this problem because they look forward to every day of life. Every day is a new adventure when you are a child, and they have the ability that many of us adults have lost, and that is to see the wonder in the ordinary. They enjoy life. Many times we don’t. We get caught up in the busyness of life, and the celebrations, and the holidays and all of that, but we forget the joy of everyday.

The Bible tells us that “God’s mercies are new EVERYDAY,” not just during the holiday season, but every single day. They are new even when the days are ordinary. They are new even when the celebrations have faded, and the presents are opened and life is just life. God’s mercies are new everyday.

Yes the things of this world fade away. Thanksgiving comes and goes, Christmas comes and goes, New Year’s celebrations come and go. The celebrations are over but God’s mercy remains. The presents have faded but His hope is still strong. Peter says we have been born again into a living hope. A lively hope. The word actually carries with it the thought of being “made alive with cheerfulness.” We as followers of Jesus Christ have reason to rejoice no matter the day, no matter the season. We can rejoice in Him and in His mercy, His grace and His hope.

What do we hope in? The fact that our sins are forgiven. The fact that we don’t go through this life alone. The fact that God has prepared a place for us in a place called heaven and that this world is not our home. Seasons change, the things of this world fade away, but God’s mercies are new every single day, whether it is a day of celebration, a day of mourning and sadness, or just an ordinary day. Let’s see the wonder in life and the wonder in a God who loves us and lets live daily in His mercy and in His hope. Living as Christian musician Phil Keaggy once sang, “with shouts of joy.”

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