There are days in our lives – and the last day of a year belong to them – days on which we pause, contemplate and look back before proceeding. This forces every Christian (if he is truthful) to strike his breast and confess: Lord, have mercy on my a poor miserable sinner. However that’s not all. He needs to move on and perceive all the grace, mercies and blessings, which he has undeservedly received from the longsuffering and kindness of God. This should lead him to gratitude and ongoing praises: Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits! (Psa 103:2 KJV) This truthful confession and thankful worship of our Lord prepares you best to move forward into the new year.
Oh, the Lord has to forgive his people so much before they are gathered before his throne. The community of saints – the holy Christian Church – is a rose with many thorns.
Our life is hidden with Christ in God and will only be revealed in his coming glory. That is why it is so often side lined and forgotten. Yet whoever remembers this, should encourage those that are in heavy conflict and due to the many burdens and sufferings of this time and age are in danger to loose hope and to forget the coming glories that are to be revealed to us.
Is it not enough for joy and thankfulness to know that our living Lord is with us every day of our life and that he has counted all our hair and knows everyone of our sighs and laments? As we are his, we want to bear all that he gives us to bear in the coming days and months of the new year. He is going ahead and we follow him and therefore we can’t get lost. Amen.
Faithful Father in heaven! We thank you that we are blessed to finish off this year under your care and goodwill. You have showered us with good all the days of our life. We praise and thank you for our lives, for our bodies and souls, for health and well-being and that you have brought us this far. I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. Forgive us for Christ’s sake, that we have sinned against you and have trespassed your commandments. Help us most graciously that we will come out of this old year and live the new life to which you have called, elected and saved us in Jesus Christ. Let us strive always to please you. Lead us the way, you would want us to proceed on for your holy names sake. Amen. (Wilhelm Löhe)
Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the last day of the year during the high holiday of Christmas. It is found on Pg. 41 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.