As 2020 comes to a close, and we all look forward to what 2021 has in store, many of us are hopeful for the new year, eager to put 2020 behind us. How can we really make this a year about new beginnings and fresh hope?
The book of Ruth in the Bible has a lot to say about a season of transition and new beginnings. It bridges the gap between the era of Judges and the Kingdom age, and for Ruth, in particular, is about moving from tragedy to hope. In the opening chapter Elimelich and Naomi moved to Moab to escape a famine in Bethlehem. After Naomi has to face the loss of her husband and two sons, she cuts her losses and moves back to Bethlehem, sending her daughters-in-law back to Moab. Even if you’ve had a bad year, hopefully you can still say it wasn’t quite as rough as everything Naomi went through during the decade she spent in Moab. Naomi was willing to let the tragedy redefine her (Ruth 1:20), while Ruth seized the opportunity to journey into a new land (Ruth 1:16).
Perhaps you see yourself like Naomi, and you need to take some time working through your grief. Maybe you are more like Ruth, and despite all that you have been through, you are looking ahead to new opportunities. If you are new to your faith, or making this the year you start getting more serious about it, you can take the opportunity to dig into more of the essentials. Core 52 is a great place to start with getting a glimpse of some of the most essential teachings of Scripture. There is also Core 52 for Students for teens who want a good overview of the basic teachings of the faith.
Another biblical account that teachings us about new beginnings and starting over is Nehemiah. A cup bearer to the king noticed an issue within his city, and united a people around rebuilding the wall. Along the way, it sparked a revival where they all came together to hear the Word of God (Nehemiah 8:3). Perhaps, for you, this year is about returning to the faith, and rediscovering your heart for God. The revival we see in Nehemiah is empowered by a group of people eager to receive God’s Word. Unfortunately, there are several believers who still haven’t taken it upon themselves to read through the whole Bible. There are many Bible reading plans you could look into that could guide your reading throughout the year, or even just the next 90 days. You could also find a good One-Year Bible to help you reach your goal of reading through the whole Bible this year.
The revival in Nehemiah was not taken in isolation. It was a community that came together to hear the Word of God. Even Naomi had Ruth to journey with her, and reject her desires to be defined by her sorrow. No matter how you are going to make the most of this year, having a friend, partner, or church member to journey with you through your Bible reading plan, or devotional, could help you find greater success in reaching your goal.
What does the new year mean to you? Is it a season of new beginnings and new hope, or is it just another day? What will you do to make the most of your year, despite any setbacks you may have faced last year?