Endings are the Beginning of Beginnings

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

Isn’t it interesting that the beginning of the ministry of Christ in His birth is almost simultaneously involved (at least on the western calendar) with the ending of another year of life and work. And isn’t it also interesting that the ending of another year of life and work signals the beginning of a new year with new possibilities, experiences and events both positive and negative.

Emotionally we experience sadness when anything that is positive ends. It may be the end of the life of a loved one or the end of a career that has provided fulfillment and sustenance for a family. It may be the end of a marriage in divorce or the end of a relationship with a loved one because of dementia or Alzheimer’s, which can cause complete loss of recognition. It may be the loss of a building or a landmark that has been the focus of many memories for generations of people. For example, I have a friend who, years ago, purchased a landmark home owned by the historical society of that particular county. He promised the society that he would restore the home to as close an approximation to its original state as possible. He noticed, as he was in the process of restoration that older people in the community who “knew what it was when” would pass by and watch the progress with smiles on their faces and even tears of joy because of the memories connected with it.

Here is the reality of endings, they always give birth to some kind of beginning. The ending of Jesus’ earthly ministry was the beginning of a whole new paradigm of redemption for mankind. The ending of earthly life signals the beginning of an eternal life (positive or negative in nature but eternal nonetheless). The end of an era or dynasty allows the possibility of a new one. We live our lives with a focus on what was because that is known. We hesitate to focus on the possibilities of the future because that is what is unknown. The above verse can be our theme individually for ourselves and our church as we step into a new year. God does have a wonderful plan as we move ahead but it only happens when we see the ending of one year as the doorway to the new one.

Blessings, Pastor Joe MacDonald