Isaiah 55:1 Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. 4 See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. 5 See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
This poem of invitation probably comes from 500 BC. These words are a bridge between God’s message of hope to the children of Israel in Exile, and the dream of a new life in Jerusalem. As such they become appropriate words for the ending of an old year and the beginning of a new year: It asks the reader to reflect on life’s meaning - your labour for that which does not satisfy? – and asks for witnesses to help usher in a renewed life in covenant with God.
A new year offers an opportunity to begin again. We do this because God’s goodness is greater than the cynical grasping of our materialistic world. Let us choose again to be people of hope - who bring joy, creativity and faith to life.
The week of New Year’s Day
6. Chosen to be God’s children
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 46.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.