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Homily for New Year Vigil

28 Dec 2020, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sermons

We give God the praise on this last night of the year 2020, a year considered by many as strange and horrible, a year the unimaginable hands of evil arm-twisted nations and the entire world. Yet, 2020 was a year many people received blessings beyond their expectations, and so, like St. Paul, I say in all circumstances, we give God the praise.

In the first quarter of the year 2020, an outbreak of a strange virus was detected and was later considered a pandemic. A pandemic that is still ravaging the world to this very night. In many ways, we all have been affected by this pandemic. Some of us may have been infected but survived it, while some others couldn’t stand the virus’s ravaging power. Many businesses crashed, the world’s economy was brought to its knees, and many lost their means of livelihood. Our freedom of movement is restricted, the freedom to worship is closely monitored, and Church doors remain closed in many parts of the world. The commotion experienced in the year 2020 makes so many people wonder what the year 2021 has in store for us. But I stand before you tonight to say, do not be afraid. I say this not because I know what the New Year holds for us, but because we know God. God knows the reason for the pandemonium in the outgoing year, and he has reasons for keeping us alive to see the last day of the year 2020. We are here tonight, still breathing and alive, not because we are indestructible or too skilled to have fought and defeat the huddles of 2020; no, God kept us. And the God who kept us to this night has crossed over to the New Year before us.

We are called tonight as believers to learn from the experience of Israel’s crossing of Jordan. When ancient Israel was about crossing Jordan, God says to them; Hear, O Israel! You are about to cross the Jordan today, to go in and dispossess nations larger and mightier than you, great cities, fortified to the heavens, a strong and tall people, the offspring of the Anakim, whom you know. You have heard it said of them, ‘Who can stand up to the Anakim? Know then today that the Lord your God is the one who crosses over before you as a devouring fire; he will defeat them and subdue them before you... (Deu. 9:1-3).

Dear friends, I confidently say tonight that what lies ahead matters not; whatever is on the other side of our Jordan are all in God’s hands. How gigantic the giants of 2021 are or what seem to be insurmountable mountains ahead are inconsequential. We only need to follow the footsteps of the God who created the year 2021, and he has crossed over before us as a devouring fire. The battle is the Lord’s! So, let’s put the fears, worries, and anxieties of 2020 behind us and maintain a closer walk with the Lord. God is not man, that he should lie (Num. 23:19), He did not lie to the people about how fortified the cities they were about to dispossess were; they were larger and mightier than Israel, fortified to the heavens, yet Israel conquered because the Lord crossed over before them.

The Lord has crossed over to 2021 already to lead the way, and every mountain melts before him. Do not be afraid of the possibility of darkness in 2021, for the night is not dark for the Lord; the brightness of his glory dispels darkness (Psalm 139:12). He crosses over before us and only wishes we follow his steps and not look back. Lot’s wife was only told not to look back, there was no assurance that there won’t be fire. No matter what 2021 comes with, remember that the cities and walls on the other side of Jordan were larger and mightier than Israel, well fortified. But the largeness, the strength, and the strong walls of those cities did not matter as long as the Lord crossed over before Israel. So, let’s walk closer with the Lord and not look back, do not be distracted by the so many voices you may hear or the darkness that may appear in 2021. Not even the blessings of 2021 should distract us; the Lord crosses over before us; follow him. Say with the psalmist; The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me—Psalm 23.

As we step into the land of 2021, let us claim the blessings of Joshua 1:3 by faith and by works. Every place that the sole of your feet will tread upon I have given to you. The year 2021 is given to us; it is ours to be explored and conquered with God’s help. Only be courageous and do not let the word of God depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night as God instructed Joshua (1:7-9).

It is my prayer that as we maintain a closer walk with the Lord this year, that every fortified “city” and “walls” of hindrance fall flat before us like the walls of Jerich. And may the “Amen” of the Church of Christ shake the foundations of 2021 to release its blessings.

Happy New Year!

  • Charles Araali Reply

    I thank you for an inspirational preach.

    Continue sharing with us what the Spirit of God inspires you.

  • Oragwu Chidinma Reply

    Thank you somuch.

  • Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!