Anticipation runs high. New Year's Eve at the symbolic center of New York City has become more than just a celebration - it's a global tradition. The world holds its breath...and cheers as the clocks strike twelve. As the famous New Year's Eve Ball descends from the flagpole atop One Times Square, 750,000 people in Times Square, millions nationwide and over a billion watching throughout the world are united in bidding a collective farewell to the departing year, and expressing our joy and hope for the year ahead.
Anticipation dismisses the present to usher in the future. Old hurts are massaged by fresh hopes. But those who cheer a descending ball should contemplate ascending symbols and signs.
If bread is the symbol, famine is the sign of reality across Africa. Millions in Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia and Kenya are starving. In Tiki Mwiinga village in southern Zambia, Josephine Kachabe, 83, cannot remember a year worse than 2005. Everyone in the village wears rags. The sun-bleached fields lie fallow. The dogs are dying and emaciated people believe they will be next. This is what life is like in the six worst-hit countries of South Africa—Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, an estimated 38,000 Haitian children die before reaching the age of five because of malnutrition. Every single hour a Haitian child dies for want of food.
In John 6:35, “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again.” Earlier in verse 27, Jesus said, “Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him.” God help us share the Bread of Life with a starving world!
If money is the symbol, debt is the sign of reality across the United States, where debt surpassed 8 trillion dollars ($8,193,294,998,977) in October. The estimated population of the United States is 298,124,606 so each citizen's share of this debt is $27,482.79. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:10,11, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. But you, man of God, run from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.” May our priorities be on God and not our material needs!
If safety is the symbol, terrorism and natural disasters are the signs of a precarious globe. Northern Pakistan’s earthquake caused $440 million in direct and indirect losses to crops, livestock and irrigation infrastructure.Without adequate shelters, many will freeze to death this winter. Millions of people have yet to recover from the huge tsunami that struckat the end of 2004. Hurricane Katrina and Rita, who walloped New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities, could cost the insurance industry up to $32 billion in claims. Britain, Jordan and Egypt suffered their worst terrorist attacks this year. Wars and lingering conflicts require United Nations Peacekeeping forces to deploy and serve in over 18 nations.
Isaiah wrote “Lord, You will establish peace for us,for You have also done all our work for us” (Isaiah 26:12). Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our peace is found in the Prince of Peace. Only God can restore order to a sinful world.
Matthew 24:7,8--For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be faminesand earthquakes in various places. All these events are the beginning of birth pains.
Contractions begin, but hope is not lost. May the cross be our symbol of faith and the sign of changed lives as we renew our determination to follow Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Something to think about . . . in reveration.
A symbol represents a spiritual truth by means of image or properties of natural things.—Oswald Chambers in Christian Discipline
©2005 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)