My 4th grade daughter was given an assignment at school to write a poem that started with “Lift every voice and sing” and ends with “Let us march on till victory is won”. This is what she wrote:
Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Christ the Lord has risen
To our cries of hope he listened
We lay dead in our sin
But we are His earthly kin
So he gave us His only Son
He gave us His Holy One
He leads us down the path of light
He leads us down the path that’s right
The Lord our King is mighty
We are his holy army
He prepares us for the battle that comes
He prepares us for the battle that will be won
Satan will have a taste of his medicine
And will be thrown in his own pit of fire
Let us march on till victory is won
My little black dress and the town’s best party have given way to cozy jammies and a movie with my kids on the eve of the new year. The change of scene is a reflection of my stage of life as a mother of young-ish children. But moreso it’s a reflection of the diminishing significance of the flip of the calendar year for me. For truly it is just an arbitrary number assigned to a day that follows the previous and precedes the next.
Culturally, we have learned to assign special meaning to this arbitrary day which allows us to be filled with hope; hope for restoration and renewal and a new beginning. It is wonderful to be overflowing with hope so we celebrate its arrival every year. But when the new year fails us and does not rise to meet us and lift our hopes to reality, we are burdened with a heavy sense of letdown. With only one opportunity a year to be renewed, how could we not be disappointed?
But what if we could be filled with hope every day?
I’ve traded in my little black dress and the desire to celebrate the arrival of hope because I’ve learned it doesn’t depend on the arbitrary flip of a day on the calendar. I’ve experienced that we can be overflowing with hope every day, any day, through our Lord Jesus. I’ve learned that He never constrains us to a particular day but is always ready to provide hope and restoration and renewal and a new beginning. He is always knocking on the door; He’s just waiting for us to let Him in.
But what does it mean to let Him in and receive His hope? It means every day you tell Him your hopes, your failures, your sorrows, your dreams, your triumphs. Every day you ask Him for wisdom and a new perspective and knowledge. Every day you ask Him for hope. And every day you celebrate Him like the breath of fresh air the new year brings. And He, and only He, will rise to meet you and lift your hopes to reality.
So my little black dress is tucked away in the closet until some other completely random and arbitrary day beckons for its adornment. Because I know I can celebrate the arrival of hope any day, every day, and receive the gift of restoration and renewal and a new beginning anytime I call on Him.