He was shuffling along as I encountered him on my walk. “Good morning! How are you today?” I greeted him. His reply was one word: “Happy.” To be in the final quarter of life and to have that as your reply is indeed a happy thing. It got me feeling a bit envious that one word could sum up his life’s outlook and maybe not my own. Maybe it’s because I’m wordy. Or maybe I don’t spend enough time being grateful and contemplating the importance of ending well.
As we conclude a very strange 2016 and prepare to turn the page to 2017, I think back to last year’s wish of a Happy New Year. I shared 16 biblical ways from Hebrews 12 to Bring it in 2016! Summarized, they were:
#1 Let the past go.
#2 Focus on the right stuff.
#3 Keep encouraged.
#4 Keep some perspective.
#5 Accept God’s course correction.
#6 Endure hardship.
#7 Discipline teaches respect.
#8 Become strong.
#9 Become level-headed and able-bodied.
#10 Find peace without compromising integrity.
#11 Grace trumps bitterness.
#12 Treasure today’s inheritance of godliness.
#13 Come to the right place.
#14 Shaken not stirred.
#15 Harbor gratitude.
#16 Worship like you know He’s God.
Maybe it’s a good time to end 2016 well by focusing on those things. Like the man I encountered on my walk who had far more New Years behind him than ahead of him. Don’t worry. Just be happy. It is well with the Christian’s soul.
How can we be in that happy place? By remembering that the LORD is God and He ever expected us to replace Him or do His work for Him. And by allowing God to orient us toward the future. Jesus is “God with us” not only at Christmas but beyond. Therefore, we can end well with gratitude to God for yesterday and find happiness in today. Ending well is a choice we can all choose to make. Our future will be better for it.