A New Year’s Greeting
From your friend, A. B. Simpson
(Reprinted from a personal letter to friends and acquaintances, January 1886—equally relevant for today.)
In the name of the Lord, we wish for all to whom these words may come a happy New Year. In order that it may be so, let it be:
1) A year with Jesus. Let us seek its plan and direction from Him. Let us take His highest thought and will for us in it. Let us look to Him for our desire, ideals, and expectations in it. Then shall it bring to us exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think. Let Him be our Guide and Way. Let us not so much be thinking even of His plan and way, as of Him as the personal guide of every moment, on whom we constantly depend to lead our every step: and ignorant ourselves, leaving all care to Him who knowest the way we take. Let Him also be the sufficiency and strength of all the year. Let us never forget “the secret,” I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me. Let us not merely try to obey Christ or imitate Christ. Let us have Christ Himself in us to do the works, and let us every moment fall back on Him both to will and do in us of His good pleasure. Let our holiness be “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” Let our health be the “life of Jesus manifest in our mortal flesh.” Let our faith be “the faith of the Son of God who loved us.” Let our peace and joy be His peace and joy. And let our service be not our works, but the grace of Christ with us.
2) A year of self-forgetting ministry for Christ and others. Let us not once think of being ministered unto, but say ever with Him: “I am among you as he that doth serve.” Let us not drag our burdens through the year, but drop all our loads of care and be free to carry His yoke and His burden. Let us make the happy exchange, giving ours and taking His. Let the covenant be: “Thou shall abide for me, I also for Thee.” So shall we lose our heaviest load—ourselves—and so shall we find our highest joy, divine love, the more blessed “to give” rather “than to receive.” Let us do good to all men as we have opportunity, let us lose no opportunity of blessing, and let us study ingenious ways of service and usefulness. Especially let us seek to win souls, and may [this year] be the harvest year of our lives.
3) A year of prayer. Let us see that our highest ministry and power is to deal with God for men. Let us be obedient to all the Holy Spirit’s voices of prayer in us. Let us count every pressure a call to prayer. Let us cherish the spirit of unceasing prayer and abiding communion. Let us learn the meaning of the ministry of prayer. Let us reach persons this year we cannot reach in person; let us expect results that we have never dared to claim before; let us count every difficulty only a greater occasion for prayer, and let us call on God for great and mighty things which we know not, and may the most glorious reminiscences of next New Year’s Eve be the wonders of answered prayer. Let us consider the suggestion to keep a little book for the record of our prayers, with a place for the answer to be entered—our account book with God.
4) A year of joy and praise. Let us live in the promises of God and the outlook of His deliverance and blessing. Let us never dwell on the trial, but always on the victory. Let us not dwell in the tomb, but in the garden of Joseph and the light of the resurrection. Let us keep our faces toward the sun rising. Arise, shine. Rejoice evermore. In everything give thanks. Praise ye the Lord.
5) A year to forget the things that are behind and reach out unto those that are before. God has “a new thing” for us in [this year]. “Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward.” Let it be a year of deeper, wider, higher, diviner things. Let us hold fast that which we have attained, but go out also to “the regions beyond,” and arise and possess the length and breadth of the land which the Lord our God does give to us.
“Onward we press in haste,
Upward our journey still;
Ours is the path the Master trod
Thro’ good report and ill.”
Yours in Him,
Rev. A. B. Simpson