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RELIGION: A different view on the New Year

by By Doug Chastain, Random Recollections | January 4, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

A new year is upon us. It is a time of new hope, great expectations and unbounded optimism. A time of gleeful anticipation of what could be to come. A time of promise and the consideration of wonderful possibilities that lie before us.


I'm sorry. Let me start over.

Without sounding too much like Ebenezer Scrooge, let me offer another view. You see, I'm not exactly the "rah-rah" type of person who always looks on the bright side. In fact, I'm a "glass half empty" kind of guy. (Folks who know me will tell you that ain't the half of it. Long ago, at my first place of employment – a summer camp called Bogg Springs – a staff member named Cheri used to sing me this song: "Every party has a pooper, that's why we invited you, PARTY POOPER!")

Where was I? Oh, yeah. A different view. Let me offer this: The coming year will contain many of the elements of the year just past. Some will be wonderful. And some will be horrendous. Some will take us to mountain tops. And some will put us in the lowest valleys. Some will restore our faith in humanity. And some will make us want to leave this miserable planet.

And our optimism at what could be to come won't change any of that. Good things will happen, and bad things will happen, just as they have since the fall of man. "Que sera, sera," Doris Day used to sing. "What will be, will be."

Am I depressing you yet?

Let me offer this, then. I know good things will happen. And I know bad things will happen. But I can celebrate the good things, and endure the bad things, because of the confidence I have in this hope: someday, somewhere, somehow, everything is going to be okay. This isn't wishful thinking, but the assurance I have because of the trust I have put in the only immutable thing in this universe: The Creator of this universe, Jesus Christ.

Without going into a long dissertation, I offer this as well: Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical figure. Many people -- some followers, some not -- claimed that He performed miracles. Jesus of Nazareth was executed by the Roman Government in the 1st Century. Beginning three days after Jesus' execution, witnesses started claiming they had seen Him alive. Nearly every one of those witnesses -- even when imprisoned, tortured, or executed -- refused to recant their claim of having seen Jesus alive after His execution.

For these reasons, and more, I have chosen to place my faith -- and my future -- in the hands of the carpenter from Nazareth. It doesn't matter what happens in 2023.

My future is secure. Yours can be, too.

"But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God." – John 1:12 (NLT)

-- Doug Chastain is a retired teacher and is currently a large-vehicle transportation specialist for the Siloam Springs School District. (Okay, he drives a bus.) He is also a grass maintenance technician at Camp Siloam. (Yeah, he mows the lawn.) You can contact him at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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