Embracing 2023: Sing Us Through

I’m writing this on the verge of a new year sitting in the South Carolina sun (46 degrees) while my favorite wife (thus far…) is doing some post Christmas returns/shopping. We are visiting our daughters and one new son-in-law, then later on this week our son, daughter-in-law, and 2 precious grandkids! Certainly a great post Christmas gift!

I’ve entitled this blog “Embracing 2023.” I initially entitled it “Attacking 2023” because I think that’s a mindset we also need to have. The evil one is having a field day in peoples minds, in our culture, in the political realm. And at times there is a fear, anxiety, worry, and a host of other similar emotions that too often rule the day! And while we do need to be on the offensive, “attacking” seemed a little too aggressive for me today, so we’ll go with embracing:)

We focused on some Christmas hymns this past month in our preaching schedule and I want to encourage us all with some lines from other hymns as we ponder all of the unknowns which lie ahead of us!

The other day I was listening to “Because He Lives.” It’s a song we regularly sing at our Easter sunrise service (if it’s unfamiliar, get out of bed this Easter and join us!) In it we’re reminded that “because he lives, I can face tomorrow…. “ and goes on to say “but sweeter still the calm assurance that we can face uncertain days, because he lives.” Our Lord knows all about 2023. He knows there will be uncertain days, unwanted diagnoses, unforeseen emotions, and uncharted waters. Not a one of us is promised smooth sailing. One thing we need to know, our God is alive and well, and with us like “a mighty warrior “ (Jeremiah 20:13). And to quote from another song “his eye is on the sparrow…. And I know he watches me.”

Shane and Shane sing a version of Psalm 23 that if you’ve never heard it, I highly recommend you listen to it (it's embedded below for you to check out). It’s one of my go-tos. It pretty much just goes right through the Shepherds Psalm with so many great reminders, one for even the darkest of days: “even though we walk through the valley of death…. He is right at our side.”

Listening to “Come Thou Fount”, one verse says “teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above”. In other words, teach me the music of heaven. Let your song be on my lips and in my heart.

Music is so good for us, godly lyrics help us focus on the one who leads us all the way home, will never forsake us, and who sticks closer than a brother!

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” is a wonderful song that reminds us that he bears all our sins and griefs and what awesome peace I forfeit when I’m not running to him in prayer!

I’m realizing that this blog can go on indefinitely with all the ways music blesses and ministers to our souls.

I’ll end with two reminders. One from “How Deep the Father's Love for Us." His love for us is “vast beyond all measure.” The song speaks of Christ’s sacrifice and how amazing Gods love is for us. It is beyond the pale. You and I who trust in him are “the apple of his eye." It doesn’t get better than that.

“Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus”….. just to rest upon his promise…just to know “thus saith the Lord” I have no idea what 2023 holds, but I pray for grace to trust him more!

My point in this is that “Embracing 2023” is only possible for me as I trust the King who is my Savior and Lord! Music often helps tremendously in that endeavor! Let Him continue to put a song in your heart this year.

Josh Cervone