New Year's Day Devotion: Abide with Us!
But they urged him strongly, 'Stay with us.'
Entering a new year as you are today, you are not unlike a person setting out on a long and arduous journey, full of hope for its successful completion, yet aware of the fact that all sorts of things can happen that would make that impossible. We assume that you are looking forward to entering another year after this one. Yet we trust that you are aware that there will be difficulties cropping up, possibly even dangers threatening your temporal and eternal welfare. Yes indeed, there is ample reason to cast all such cares on the Lord
You certainly do not wish to enter the new year on a chance. That would be foolish- Our advice to you is that you turn in faith to your Savior who is your very best friend and beg him to stay with you throughout this year and always.
Just as was the case in the old year, so too in this new year there will be daily brushes with sin. Unfortunately, that is the way it will be. We are not implying that you are minded to go your own way, even if it be sinful. After all, you are a Christian and a child of God. Yet, at the same time you are and remain a poor sinful being That is why we said that every day there will be brushes with sin It may even occur that because of the weakness of your flesh and the temptation of the devil you will suddenly find yourself involved in some grievous sin. Who can say that that can't happen to him? Then the question soon arises whether you want to persist 'in that sin. You certainly don't imagine that you will be able to extricate yourself by your own powers. Nor would you want the guilt and burden of your daily sin, which will multiply from day to day, to separate you from the love of God. - That's where Christ Jesus, your sin-bearer, comes in, and for that reason we urge you to turn to him, especially on this first day of a new year, and indeed, every day, and to beg him to stay with you. Then he surely will do so in answer to your prayer He will forgive those many daily sins and graciously strengthen you in the faith so that you can be better on your guard against sinning and against the devil's snares and assaults He will keep watch over you as your Good Shepherd because he loves his sheep.
You know that the road through life is a dangerous one even as is the passing through a new year. Besides, you have no notion how many dangers are menacing your way, and if you are minded to go that way alone, your passage won't be attended with blessing Simply because you are a Christian and a child of God, the devil is your inveterate enemy. All the more reason for you to ask Jesus to stay at your side, in your heart. Then, no matter what happens, it will all work out for your goodThat hand that was nailed to the cross for you will turn even woes and adversities into blessings. Even if it were your lot to walk through the dark valley of the shadow of death this year, you need fear no evil for your Good Shepherd is with you. If times of weeping and sighing come, he will comfort you with his Word, help you bear your cross, lightening the load, and gladly remove it as soon as it is beneficial for you.
And finally Christian, there is the possibility that you may die in this year. And after death there's the judgment And what will be your fate if your Savior and Advocate is not at your side then; - Oh, with all your might pray fervently and often, "Dear Jesus, stay with me!" Then neither death nor judgment can harm any, and your dear Lord will see to it that you safely enter the Father's home above.
"Stay with me, Lord Jesus!" - May this plea ever be on your lips and in your heart; then you will surely have a good new year
O Lord Christ, our Savior dear,
Be Thou ever near us.
Grant us now a glad new year,
Amen, Jesus, hear us!