In the animal kingdom, species like wallabies and aardvarks are not thought to be creatures of hope, rather creatures of instinct. National Geographic hasn’t spotted them writing New Year’s resolutions or making birthday wishes, rather “wallabying” and “aardvarking” until they die, generally living one survival moment to the next. To truly hope is to be human.
At the beginning of a new year, we look to the future with hope and optimism. “This year will be different!” we think. “This year, I resolve to ... ,” and we insert a task to accomplish or a different mindset. Coming out of a particularly tough 2020, many of us hope for a simpler, less anxiety-provoking 2021, because we don’t hope in the past—we hope in the future.
God’s grace allows us to hope and be creators of our own future. Galatians 6:7–8 reminds us that the choices we make today determine some of our outcomes for tomorrow: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (NIV).