A New Perspective for a New Year

Yael Eckstein  |  January 5, 2021

Yael Eckstein and family watch sunrise on beach last year, 2020
Yael Eckstein and her children, Meyora, Liam, and Sapir stand on the beach by the sea facing away from the camera, throwins bread into the water, Tashlikh, sunset, waves, summer clothing

Praise God, a new year has begun! Most of us will remember 2020 as an especially challenging year, and for many of us, a painful one as well. Yet, with the help of God, we made it through, and now it is time for a fresh start and a new perspective.

As people of faith, we believe that God is good, that He loves us, that He is all-powerful, and that He does everything for our very best. And while it may be hard to understand God’s ways in a year like we just experienced, we can choose to trust His plan for our lives. We can step confidently and joyfully into 2021 with optimism and faith.

No doubt, the coming year will have its own share of challenges, as every year does. But the greatest gifts of 2020 are the invaluable lessons that we learned during this exceptional year, and now we can take them with us into the new one. Of these many lessons I would like to share three that have most touched my heart.

Choose Life

The first lesson is that every single day we have the opportunity — and the responsibility — to “choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:19), no matter how difficult things may seem. In the past year, it often seemed like everything was against us.

So many of us felt at times like the sky was falling; a heavy sense of mourning “the way it once was” engulfed our world, our communities, and each of us individually. Yet, we learned that it is always possible to embrace life, and even to help others struggling more than ourselves to do so as well. The decision to choose life — to focus on the positive, celebrate the good, and have faith in the future — is a decision that we need to make daily, and especially now as we begin the new year.

Our Refuge and Strength

The second message that 2020 reinforced in my heart is that, indeed, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Many of us didn’t know how we were going to overcome the numerous difficulties created by the pandemic — financial, emotional, physical, and otherwise.

We at The Fellowship did not know how we would meet the enormous increase in demand for lifesaving aid, but we knew that God would help us. Thousands of years ago Jeremiah said in the name of God, “call to me and I will answer you,” (33:3) and at times I felt like he was speaking directly to us during these days, reminding us how to get through them. I felt God answer our prayers in 2020 and I am encouraged that we will meet any challenge in 2021 because He is with us.

Praying for Miracles

A third message that 2020 brought back to our attention is that every day, even every moment, is nothing less than a miracle. The very things that we once took for granted, we now pray for.

We learned that life is not a given. Being with our loved ones is not a given. Financial security and physical safety are not guaranteed. Rather, everything we have, including our very lives, are miracles granted to us by our Creator. If we can praise God with new enthusiasm in 2021 — if we can “Sing to the LORD a new song… proclaim his salvation day after day” (Psalm 96:1-2) — we will appreciate our blessings more than ever and enjoy even more miracles in our lives.

Working Miracles

Each of us has the ability to be a miracle in someone else’s life. God works miracles through individuals who are ready to be His servants. He works miracles through those who take responsibility. He works miracles through people — and in this past year I have watched our extraordinary Fellowship family, our devoted staff, and generous supporters become a miracle for so many people in need.

Thank you, my friends. May we continue to be God’s faithful messengers in this new year and learn from the lessons of the past year, so that the coming year will be our best one yet!

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael Eckstein's Signature

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