Every time we turn the leaf to a new year, we are hopeful that things will be different. We make New Year's resolutions, we gather together with family members, and we give blessings to one another, and we do all these things with reserved anticipation that this new year will be better than the last.
However, just one day into this year of the rat,
… there is still discord in the city.
… and a virus that harkens us back to 2003.
We are reminded that the turning of the calendar doesn’t guarantee anything. Certainly, we can relate to the sentiments of Solomon when he says, “what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Eccl 1:9) Not the most uplifting message right? However, to those of us struggling to find meaning in all this suffering, there is hope and encouragement to be found in the words of Solomon.
In fact, the message of Ecclesiastes is not fatalistic. Quite the opposite, it is a call for all of us to enjoy every moment as a gift from God, because it is all temporary. “However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all.” (11:8a) Life’s brevity actually brings meaning to every moment, so we should enjoy it!
This is not a licence for us to sin, but it is a call for us all to begin thinking about the things in life that bring us joy. It seems counter-intuitive, but perhaps the attitude we can adopt in such a time as this is an attitude of gratitude. Perhaps in the midst of this strife and confusion, trying to enjoy every moment of life will help us acknowledge that our sovereign God is in control.