What’s in a year? In January I met 2022 for the first time. 2022 seemed somewhat uncertain of his character. He’d been delivered to us courtesy of his mother, 2021, and she wasn’t a very cheery character. She came with lockdowns and fear, would her son fair any better? 2022 told us he would bring us hope and a new start. He promised healing from a virus, healing for families torn apart and healing for our nation. Sadly 2022 wasn’t entirely honest and seems to have been somewhat deluding himself.

2022 has for many people, been an extremely hard year. It’s been filled with media-fuelled fears, financial difficulties and a time of enormous change for our nation.

All I can say is I’m grateful to know the One who holds each year. He’s the One who offers each year to us as a gift, an unwrapped present, full of hope. Some years bring instant gratification gifts, financial rewards, family joys or fulfilled achievements, but other years the gifts are harder to enjoy, their joy hidden beneath layers of pain.

Maybe you can relate? Maybe your year has been filled with pain? How can we find the gift buried beneath layers of disappointment, worry and stress? If we know the Giver of each day only gives good gifts to His children then how can we find the gifts that this past year has brought? I think the secret lies in the Giver.

Jesus loves us so much that He sometimes says no, He sometimes has a bigger miracle to do in us. When our circumstances aren’t changing despite our petitions, we can be sure that God has heard us and He is at work in the situation, changing us. Every pain and trouble can do one of two things, drive us to God, or to sin, to the sins of self-pity, anger and worry. The first response will give us peace in the storm and the second will steal it away.

I’ve had plenty of opportunities this year to choose my responses. Everyday trials have come my way and each time I was met with a choice. I’ve had 9 uncomfortable months of pregnancy and a birth which was challenging, teenagers with a barrage of emotions unloaded on me daily, endless housework and sibling squabbles. Today I have just felt rather lonely, missing friends whose children are unwell.

Each time I’ve met with those same two choices, to turn to God or to turn to sin. It’s a constant battle with Self. Self wants us to feel sorry for ourselves, to give way to fear or to anger. It’s an act of will, to turn our backs on Self and to turn to the One who has the answers. It’s an action we don’t face alone, the Holy Spirit is our Helper. All we have to do is turn and He’ll do the rest.

I’ve often made the wrong choice, chosen fear, self pity or resentment. I know what I should be doing, but in the words of Paul, ‘I do not practice what I want to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate [and yielding to my human nature, my worldliness—my sinful capacity]. Romans 7:15. It’s a good job God never gives up on us, He continually calls us to Himself. He uses our circumstances to draw us to Him.

We’ll be meeting 2023 soon, wrapped as an unknown gift, awaiting us. Will we find the gift enclosed? God asks us to ‘seek the LORD your God…you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.’ Deuteronomy 4:29.

I pray for us all that this Christmas we will find the ultimate gift. Amid the chaos and the crazy, may we take time to understand why we celebrate. Whatever Christmas and the new year holds for you, I pray you will turn to Jesus, the One who has all the answers.

11 thoughts on “The Gift of a Year

  1. Beautifully written. This has been a very difficult year for us as well and this is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you, Vicki. May God bless you and your family!

  2. Eternal God,
    as Mary waited for the birth of your Son,
    so we wait for his coming in glory;
    bring us through the birth pangs of this present age
    to see, with her, our great salvation
    in Jesus Christ our Lord.

    1 Timothy 2:1
    First of all, then,
    I urge that entreaties and prayers,
    petitions and thanksgivings,
    be made on behalf of all men,

    Psalm 37:4
    Delight yourself in the Lord;
    And He will give you the desires of your heart.

    John 15:7
    If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
    ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

    Mark 11:24
    Therefore I tell you,
    whatever you ask for in prayer,
    believe that you have received it,
    and it will be yours.

    Matthew 7:7
    Ask and it will be given to you;
    seek and you will find;
    knock and the door will be opened to you.
    Let us all pray as we celebrate the Christmas birth of the Messiah
    that our faith will be reborn & strengthened to new heights,
    for with faith the Bible tells us our petitions will be answered.

    Wishing Vicky & her family & all her loved ones,
    & all readers a Blessed Christmas
    & Healthy coming new year in 2023

    Thank you for your prayers & blog of 2022 Vicky

  3. Encouraging words Vicki. May the Lord draw near to you all this Christmas. Lot’s of love and we’ll see you in the New Year xxx

  4. Thank you Vicki for your encouragement and love all the photo’s.
    Do hope you and all your family have a happy Christmas and very blessed in Him 2023!

  5. Have a lovely Christmas to you all and a ‘23 filled with only God… Thankyou for being real and sharing your journey… not one of us can say this is contrary to how we are because in truth we all struggle.

    Love in Christ
    Julie 🙏✝️♥️

  6. Lorraine (Laurie) Everitt says:

    I just love reading your updates and seeing the wonderful pictures of your lovely family. You will always be an inspiration to all those who know you.
    I pray that 2023 will be a year of continued growth and blessing, as you experience the changes to come.
    May God bless you all heaps.
    With lots of love
    Laurie xx

  7. With all the greetings & praise, God through the Holy Spirit has lead me to comment

    It is important to remember those Christians (& non-Christians) this Christmas that will not have a happy Christmas either due to mental suffering, ill health, poverty, homelessness,or misfortune, whether through their own making or unfortunate circumstances, we are not to judge

    As Job cried out in the Bible
    Job 30:20-31
    20 “I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.
    21 You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me.
    22 You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; you toss me about in the storm.
    23 I know you will bring me down to death, to the place appointed for all the living.
    24 “Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his distress.
    25 Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor?
    26 Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness.
    27 The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me.
    28 I go about blackened, but not by the sun; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.
    29 I have become a brother of jackals, a companion of owls.
    30 My skin grows black and peels; my body burns with fever.
    31 My lyre is tuned to mourning, and my pipe to the sound of wailing.

    At Christmas this is the truly the reality for many Christians & non-Christians alike.

    Tearfully I have to say Job’s story above is my story (& many others story), as you sit down to your turkey Christmas lunch, think & pray for others whose mental & physical suffering you are unlikely to ever experience or know, & I pray you will never know what it is like to really suffer

    As I (they) cry out “Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46, KJV).

  8. Dear Vicki and Phil and all the family,
    Wishing you the very best year 2023. Sorry that 2022 was tough but as you said He has got us and the choice to lean on Him will carry us through the ups and downs.
    When are you guys free for a visit?
    Have a wonderful Christmas with the knowledge of how great the love of God is for us all. Much love and prayers from the Goldsmiths xxx

  9. Thank you Vicki for such encouraging words – yes, even in the trials and difficulties, we do have a choice about how we handle it. I, personally am so grateful for Christan friends who are there for me and I know that God’s Holy Spirit is at work in my life.

  10. Thank you beautiful lady, for your constant words of inspiration. These photos brought tears of joy to my eyes. You are a truly wonderful family & your strength of faith shines brightly through you all.
    May our almighty Father in Heaven pour out His rich blessings on you all this Christmas & throughout the year ahead. May you always feel Him with you, may His Spirit flow freely through you to guide others to His salvation & may your cup overflow.
    God bless & keep you all. With much love Hannah & family x

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