Warmest Christian greetings for 2020!
I wonder, do you ever feel as I do that the dawning of the new year comes so quickly that we hardly have enough time to digest our Christmas pudding?
Once again, I tuned in the BBC on my phone so that I could listen to the Queen’s speech. No one else in my home shares my sentimental attachment to Her Majesty. Growing up in Great Britain, though, it was customary for our family to pause our celebrations to listen to her Christmas address.
It is clear from the Queen’s words that she has a firm conviction about the important role played by the Christian faith in the ordering of society. Her father, King George VI (remember The King’s Speech?), held the same conviction. He delivered a memorable speech on Christmas Day 1939 to a British nation at war and fearful of what lay ahead. The King quoted a relatively unknown poem by a poet named Minnie Louise Haskins:
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
His speech concluded, “May that Almighty hand guide and uphold us all.” How good to think that the King of England called upon the King of heaven to hold his nation together through the darkness!
It reminds me of God’s word to His people in the face of opposition: “For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you’” (Isaiah 41:13). This is a further and necessary reminder that our times are in His hands and we can leave them safely there.
King George asked for a light. I don’t know if he read his Bible, but we can read ours knowing that God’s Word will be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Both our book offers this month will be a help in this regard.
Daily Readings from All Four Gospels, by nineteenth-century Liverpool Bishop J. C. Ryle, will keep us close to Jesus throughout the year. It’s a devotional that offers practical application for living out our faith. And as you look to your Bible to be your guide, our second offer, Before You Open Your Bible, will give you nine suggestions for how to come to God’s Word with an open heart and an open mind. For those of us new to the Bible, this book is a good primer; for those of us who may be challenged to learn something new from familiar passages, it offers helpful suggestions along these lines.
Thank you for your generous and prayerful support in 2019. Your faithful partnership has enabled us to finish 2019 strong and enter 2020 with much enthusiasm.
P.S. You’re invited to cruise with me to Alaska at the end of August. I’ll be teaching from the Bible while viewing the sights of the beautiful Alaskan coastline. Learn more at deeperfaithcruise.com or call (855) 565-5519.
Topics: Letters From Alistair Begg