Ode to Joy

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,  for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:3-6
Paul's prayer for the church was one of joy regardless of circumstance. He speaks of how we should be confident that Jesus will continue the good work He began in us. This year I pray that we aren't just searching for a new start, or a new beginning. Most New Years resolutions die off after the first week of January anyway. I pray that we allow God to continue a "good" work in us. That we pray for His good and perfect will in our lives (Romans 12:2). No one knows what is best for us better than God. We don't have to write off the past, we just have to move on from it, learn from it, thank it for all the lessons it gave us, and look forward to the new year God has given us. Just like the old testament wasn't written off with a new rendition, it's an ongoing symphony with new notes being added as we go. It is a fulfillment of the old. It becomes more clear as we go, it becomes better with each passing year. 
Every new year the song "Auld Lang Syne" is played at midnight. The lyrics were written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788. My favorite part is when it says “we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet.” In remembrance of the noble deeds and kindness of our fellowman. "Auld Lang Syne" means "times long past."  We take communion sometimes during Christmas and New Years, and Easter. We do these things in remembrance of the Lord and what he has done for us. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). But, his work isn't finished though our ideas or goals in life fall short. He keeps his promises, and if we hang on we will see miracles in 2022.
One day there will be no more time to count. We are working toward a greater kingdom that we cannot see. This earth and the last couple of years have been difficult and full of challenge, but for those in Christ we can have joy on this earth regardless of circumstance (Phil. 4:7. 1 Pet. 1:8) and always having something to look forward to. "To live is Christ, to die is gain (Phil. 1:21)." Paul was in chains, but he felt more freedom because he knew he was in the will of God, and the kingdom was at hand. This scripture I think of as an "ode to joy." A poetic expression of things to come, Paul was in chains but His vision was not limited. He is rejoicing somewhere this day. This earth is temporary and everything in it. What will is prosper a man to gain the world but lose his soul (Matthew 16:26).
"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."  Luke 2:14

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