I John 2:1-6
One of my favorite New Year’s Day experiences dates back to 1970, when South Carolina State University’s Garnet and Blue Marching 101 Band performed in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. That trip was the farthest from home that most of us on the band had ever been and was our first time on an airplane as well. We stayed on the UCLA campus, visited Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm and met and partied on New Year’s Eve with members of other bands from across the United States and from as far away as Japan.
I remember a lot about that trip, but two things about the parade itself stand out. The first is that a parade with plenty of horses but no street sweepers following them makes for a challenging and acrobatic marching experience! The second is that since the parade was 7.8 miles long, each band member was given a ticket with the band’s name and a contact person on it so that if any band members stumbled and fell, got too tired to keep up or passed out along the route, someone from the parade staff could take care of them and get them back to the right band staging area when the parade was done.
Jesus does for all of us what the parade staff does for those who march in Rose Bowl Parades. The Son of God, who laid aside the robe of immortality and humbly donned the cloak of mortality, came into this world to give His life as the price for our sins and to put us into a right relationship with God. Jesus knows us, knows our names and pleads our case before the throne of God.
Let that be your blessed assurance as we step off into a brand new year. Before 2013 is done, all of us will do our share of right and wrong and get out of step with God’s will and God’s way, but the wrong that we do doesn’t have to hinder our progress or govern our lives. When we stay in touch with the Christ who knows our names, forgives our sins and advocates for us, then when we stumble, get weary or grow faint in life’s parade, He’ll be there to pick us up, to encourage us and to bring us back safely to where we need to be.
Life’s parade can be long and arduous, but when we stay in step with Jesus in 2013 and beyond, we can press on saying as one writer did, “I do not know how long ‘twill be nor what the future holds for me, but this I know, if Jesus leads me, I shall get home one day.”