Faith

Why This Faith Leader Welcomes the New Year with Great Hope

'How we react to situations we did not anticipate is what ultimately determines how successful any year will be,' shares the author in this lovely op-ed

Today we stand at the dawn of a New Year and a new decade.

As I look toward the horizon at 2020, I am filled with hope and excitement for what lies ahead.

I am encouraged by all of the support that our fellowship group has received in the past year and the new partnerships and projects shaping up for this coming year.

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I can feel God’s blessing on this ministry!

And yet, even as I embrace a spirit of faith and optimism, I am well aware that I can’t see what lays beyond the horizon. None of us can possibly know what tomorrow might bring.

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Often enough, we’re called to embrace the unexpected — and how we react to situations we did not anticipate is what ultimately determines how successful any year will be.

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This reminds me of a cold night in Chicago a few years ago. My beloved dad and I were in town for important end-of-year fellowship meetings. At the end of a very long day, I was looking forward to getting home as quickly and as warmly as possible.

However, when I looked out the window I saw that it was snowing heavily. My immediate reaction was to be upset about the bad weather. After a long, hard day of working, the last thing I wanted to do was to step out in the cold and wet snow.

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The thought of having to stand outside waiting for a cab did not make me happy.

But my father? He was smiling!

“Yael!” he said. “We might as well enjoy it! If we have to go out in the snow anyway, we may as well make the best of it!” And that’s exactly what we did.

My father and I went outside like two small children. We laughed and played in the snow. We made snowballs and opened our mouths wide to catch snowflakes. We had so much fun that I barely noticed the cold.

Now, I look back on that moment as a cherished memory made possible by the very circumstances I was upset about. My father’s guidance to see the good in every situation and choose a positive reaction to any circumstance changed what I was seeing as a negative experience into one of wonder and magic. And it is this attitude that I will take with me into the New Year of 2020.

If I learned anything from last year, and the unexpected loss of my father, it’s to cherish every moment and to make the most of every situation — and to see everything as an opportunity, even the unexpected turns on our journey.

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I see so much light and goodness up ahead. There are so many amazing people and wonderful initiatives coming together.

I am entirely optimistic about the year and decade ahead.

Still, I will carry my father’s teachings with me so that I can truly make the most of whatever comes our way.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11).

No matter what happens, I know that God is good, His plans are good, and the future will be better than we ever imagined.

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Yael Eckstein
meet the author

Yael Eckstein is president of The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, founded in 1983; she oversees all ministry programs and serves as the international spokesperson. Based in Jerusalem with her husband and their four children, she is a published writer and a respected social services professional. She has contributed to The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel and is the author of two books, “Holy Land Reflections: A Collection of Inspirational Insights from Israel” and “Spiritual Cooking with Yael.” The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel.

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