I’m assuming most folks have seen the newest episode of Star Wars – “The Last Jedi.” Being an old guy, I vividly remember the premier of the original Star Wars in 1977 – “A New Hope.” We had to drive over to Tallahassee to see it but we gladly made the trip. I was so impressed that I actually went to see it a second time (rarely did that back then) and even convinced my mom to go with me. It was ... and is still ... a great movie! The galaxy is in the midst of a civil war yet the evil Empire seems to be on the verge of total victory with the near completion of a most deadly Death Star. Fortunately spies from the Rebel Alliance had stolen the plans for the Death Star and gotten them to Princess Leia. And right before she is captured she hides these plans and a recording in a droid (R2-D2) hoping that somehow the message would get to Obi-Wan Kenobi, an old Jedi of the Galactic Republic. He, along with a young Luke Skywalker, do indeed bring a new hope of freedom and victory to the struggling people.
I've heard quite a few folks tell me that 2017 was truly a hard and difficult year and they're hoping for a "new hope" of sorts for 2018. Indeed, 2017 saw a lot of hard things for many people: the deaths of some cultural icons (Mary Tyler Moore, Chuck Berry, Jim Nabors, Glen Cambell, Monty Hall, Roger Moore, Gregg Allman, and more), hurricanes Harvey and Maria, mass shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs and more, turmoil in race relations and immigration, and political division. All this on top of our own personal struggles with health, family, finances, etc. We can surely hope the new year turns out better for us.
Culturally, the new year is always a time for resolutions (high percentage of which seem involve weight loss), commitments, plans, ideas, etc. all in hopes of having a better year than the previous one. Surely, there is a "new hope" for us out there somewhere. Will it be a political leader? perhaps an economic guru? maybe a celebrity who will unite our nation? maybe even an athlete who will capture the heart of all Americans? It seems every year we long for someone / something like this to bring healing, recovery, success, prosperity, meaning, hope, etc. for us. But the truth is this = the "new hope" for us is the same old hope that God has given His people since the Garden, that He would provide a Redeemer who would save us from sin, death, and the enemy and adopt us as His very own children to dwell with Him forever. Our new hope, old hope, only hope is Jesus Christ. So as we begin this trek through 2018 let's be aware that the coming year may have its own full share of hurt, pain, tragedy, and loss but also full of the HOPE that comes through Jesus Christ.