United Church of God

Letter From Dan Preston - December 31, 2021

Letter From Dan Preston

December 31, 2021

Good evening brethren and happy Sabbath! I hope everyone is enjoying a safe night at home as we prepare to flip the calendar to 2022.  

Please continue reading 'Marriage and Family: the Missing Dimension.'  We should be wrapping up the last two chapters this week, 'Bringing Up a Moral Child' and 'A Foretaste of Tomorrow.'  We will begin discussing this booklet next Sabbath in Columbia.

Happy New Year?

Much of the world is revving up to celebrate in incoming new year tonight.  While most are focusing on getting drunk and partying to the wee hours of the morning, very few recognize the connection to pagan celebrations such as the Babylonian worship of the sky god Marduk, or the Roman worship of Janus, the god of new beginnings.  For more info, check out https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/new-years 

So while we ought not partake in such celebrations, the Roman/Julian/Gregorian calendar is how our world marks time.  As such, it provides a convenient place for us to reflect on the past year and consider what goals we may establish for the upcoming year.  Establishing a sustainable exercise routine, reviewing your personal budget and making plans for summer projects are all fine things to do with a blank calendar in front of us.

2021 - like 2020, but worse

As bad as the pandemic of 2020 was, 2021 seemed to build off the chaos.  Riots on capitol hill, a ship stuck in the Suez canal slowing trade, the murder trial over George Floyd's death, the withdrawal of troops and subsequent collapse of Afghanistan and most recently, the December 10-11 tornadoes that devastated the Central US.

All this negativity can make 2021 seem like a total loss.  No wonder so many want to forget it in a single night fueled with alcohol, lust and empty promises. But is that an accurate way to think about this last calendar year?

Eyes toward the kingdom

Amid all we see in the news, there's been some good things to think about too.  After being locked down for over a year, most of us were able to once again return to services and keep the Feast of Tabernacles.  And while some of us came home sick, hopefully the overall picture and meaning of the Feast became sharper than ever in our minds

Consider what Christ said when speaking to His disciples about the end time tribulation, "For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled" (Luke 21:22 NKJV).  The terrible things that we see beginning to happen are the fulfillment of prophecy.  But still you might ask, "How are bad things happening, good?"

Jesus answers this question in verse 28, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."  Quite simply, a lot of bad things are going to happen in the end times.  But the Feast we kept reminds us they will be followed by the return of Jesus Christ!

What's next?

All the craziness of 2020 and 2021 will likely seem a walk in the park before all is said and done.  What's next is hard to say.  But none of that should stop us from living today.  Make your plans for the upcoming year, and continue to set physical and spiritual goals that will help you grow.  And even if the pandemic or who-knows-what happens to keep us from fulfilling those goals, let's remember the promise of Jesus' return, when redemption for all humanity will be fulfilled!