It’s time to wish you a Happy New Year, even though this is a hard time for many people and life remains challenging and uncertain as we go into 2021. For us of course as Christians, it is not a matter of wishing but praying as in ‘The Blessing Song’ that has gone around the world, (https://youtu.be/PUtll3mNj5U will take you there) that the Lord will bless and keep you as we go into 2021 and make His face shine upon you and give you His peace. If you want an extra blessing from the song have a listen in Chinese, Japanese, 31 Indian languages, Arabic, Uzbek and many more. (all on youtube) So moving to hear it sung from around the world.
Back to us here in England and not many of us could have foreseen what 2020 would hold when we last wished each other Happy New Year a year ago, but last year as lockdown began I felt that the Lord was giving me words of encouragement to share with His people through the spring and early summer, which we did, until things began to ease in July. Many of them are still very pertinent as we face a more months of ‘Lockdown’, and you can still see them as we have posted them as blogs on our website, www.coloursoftherainbow.org.uk As the time has gone on and we have been through a second wave and are now facing a third wave fuelled by a new strain of the virus I have been asking the Lord what He is saying to us, His people in this time, especially as we go into 2021.
After quite a while of waiting, what I heard the Lord say surprised and excited me.
I believe this season has been for many of us a time of refining and drawing closer to the Lord in many ways. Learning without our usual sources of spiritual nourishment and church, that His love and faithfulness really do ‘never come to an end’ (Lamentations 3 vs 22,23). Now it seems likely that there will be at least another three months before anything approaching normal life resumes for most of us. It seems the Lord is saying that we still have more time to dig deeper, and to explore the height, depth, length and breadth of His love that passes knowledge (Ephesians 3 vs 17,18,19)
This is not always easy when we are isolated, feeling lockdown weary or just worried about life, health, children, parents, money and all the other things that have been dislocated by this pandemic, and it is easy to become despondent and let the atmosphere of the world around us prevail. but I heard the Lord say that he wanted to release a spirit of gratitude over us, His people, and I even believe this may be the key to revival many of us are praying for. It’s ‘our turn to shine’ (Isaiah 60 vs 1,2) and I believe the Lord is wanting His people to come through this time stronger and brighter than ever.
I then felt the Lord challenge me, saying He was going to give me 365 reasons why thanksgiving is so vital for this generation of Christians, one for every day of the year. That feels like a very big stretch for my faith, but since I sensed the Lord was saying this about a 10 days ago, He has already given me 80 of those reasons , so let’s see……… . This is not 365 things to be thankful for, because there are many many more than 365 (I would recommend Ann VosKamp’s book ‘One Thousand Gifts’ for that journey). This is about the power of thanksgiving in our lives and the transformation it works in and for us.
Our aim is to release one of these reasons every day through 2021 and if you would like to catch any of them I will put them on our website www.coloursoftherainbow.org.uk as a daily blog and you can see them there. I am attaching the first one today to this email, and if you are interested and would rather receive them as an email attachment then please just email back ‘Yes’ and we will send them to you daily with an email.
Stella and Mark