A Different Year-End

Saturday, January 2, 2021
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Listen while you read: "Hallelujah Chorus"1 (Lyrics)

Usually, at the end of December and the beginning of January, I would be conducting Christmas and New Year's services at the local Long Term Care Centre. They were not always held on the twenty-fifth of December or on the first of January. Some years, they were on a day or two before or after, depending on my involvement in church activities, and on the events planned at the home. Greta always went with me to ably lead the singing, and, almost always, a friend from our church came to play the piano.

The services were always well attended — by most of the residents, as well as some of their relatives and friends from the community. Some members from our church also came on different occasions. We used to sing the beautiful Christmas carols and read an appropriate Bible passage or two. We always had a great time of worship together. This has been happening for the last twenty years, but not at this time.

At one of the previous New Year's services, I talked about the fact that God will watch over us, based mostly on the story of Jacob as he stood at the beginning of a new period in his life. You may recall that he was the younger of a set of twins. His brother Esau was just a bit older and therefore entitled to the birthright of the firstborn. But through treachery, Jacob received the firstborn's blessing.

As Jacob feared for his life, his mother thought that it would be wise for him to leave home for a while. While he was sleeping during that first night in the desert, he had a dream in which he heard God speaking to him:

Genesis 28:15a – Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go. (NKJV)

I conveyed this assurance to the people in the Long Term Centre. Some of them suffer in a physical or mental way, while some are at loose ends, worrying as to what might happen to them. We, too, need this assurance, always, and especially now during these days of uncertainty.

This past year-end, we were not able to go for these services, since the home is closed to visitors due to the COVID-19 virus situation. We have not been there for almost a year. We miss seeing and visiting with the residents, and we are told by a staff member that they miss us as well.

None of us has any idea what will happen to us in 2021. We have no idea what lies in store for us, but there is one thing that we can be sure of: if we walk in His ways and live according to His will, He will be with us and watch over us, wherever we are and wherever we go.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we are so grateful that even during the most difficult times in our lives, we have the assurance that You are always with us. We thank You in Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Joel Jongkind <austria67@bmts.com>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Encouraging words, Joel.

    Thank you for sharing this very positive message Joel.

    Thank you for a very inspiring and well-timed message to set the path for 2021.

    Thanks for today’s message. Happy New Year. Hoping for better things to come in 2021. Blessings and stay safe and healthy,

    May God bless you for praying for those who can’t have church. I often think about them too. May God be with them and may we find more ways to comfort them.

    Thanks Joel. A good reminder for the beginning of the year.
    I know God is with me in this new chapter of my life. He has been providing people help me through this move.
    Happy New Year to you and Greta.

    You have written a comforting and truth filled work about uncertainty of the times, and God’s promise to always be with us. This is a message we need to pin on our shirts, against our heart. I appreciate your work.

    Greetings Joel,
    Great devotional! Your closing prayer says it all. Yes, we must be so grateful that whatever we have to face and deal within our daily lives, our loving Lord is there for us. I, too, look forward to the time when we will be able to visit the long-term care residences and do our services again. It was an enjoyable event to do and much appreciated by the residents.
    Blessings for writing,

    What a wonderful assurance!
    Thank you.

    Thank you, Joel, for sharing this enlightening devotional with us. Blessings.

    Hi, thank you for sharing.
    Can God’s Word (audio from resident’s iPad or smartphone app, offered via help from LTC staff?) feed/nurture somehow the shut-in LTC residents? Perhaps you could ask to have your “service” be offered YouTube TV for them?

    Hi Joel,
    I remember how important it was for the services when I had relatives in long-term and retirement homes.
    I can’t help but wonder if you could connect via zoom.
    It would be so nice for internet providers to provide such a service to long-term facilities so that they can participate in services or group get-togethers.
    Our church has been holding services online via YouTube since March and we’ve been holding weekly gatherings and Bible studies through zoom. We’ve also had some ‘coffee hours’ after services a few times, including Christmas Eve.
    Have a very Happy and safe New Year and hopefully you’ll be able to reconnect one way or another very soon with the residents.

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