“The Lord bless you and keep you;  The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;  The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, give you peace.” 

This was the priestly blessing God spoke to Moses, instructing him to “speak to Aaron and his sons, saying ‘this is the way you shall bless the children of Israel’ and many of our Pastors today use this blessing as they dismiss the congregation after church meetings and services. But how fitting is this blessing for new beginnings, and new journeys, as that which will soon be upon ALL of us 2 0 2 1.

A blessing that encompasses all things mind, body, spirit, and includes the preservation of such things as well.  To be kept means to be preserved, granted the ability to withstand the storm, to bend and not break.  To be preserved means to have the capacity to maintain one’s core identity, it means to be strong within who you are and in who you believe, despite the road ahead being unclear and your purpose undefined.  Consider the act of preserving food, the process does not change the food, but changes it so that it can endure.  We will encounter trials of all kinds, but with the Lord’s keeping we can and will endure.

Oh, how God desires to speak with His creation face-to-face. Yes, He took the first step in extending his grace to us while we were still in darkness, and he demonstrated His grace and love for us unto the cross.  Rev. Valcarcel, my Pastor, once said in a preaching that “mercy is not having to pay a debt that we accrued, and grace is receiving a gift we do not deserve.”  In the Old Testament the Glory of God was too much for us to withstand, but then JESUS. Jesus came so that His grace could shine upon us, ALL of us.

“My peace I leave with you, my peace I give you” Peace can never be found in other people, money, or things, because peace is a gift that is given to the believer, resulting from faith in a God who knows all and sees all.  As we stare in the face of God and look upon his countenance, figuratively speaking of course, as we get to know Him in the pages of our Bible, our guide for daily living, we can be secure in knowing that everything will be okay, no matter the circumstance we will live out our purpose, we will learn the lessons, we will love and be loved. Yes, 2021 may or may not be different from 2020, but we venture into it with the blessing of the Lord upon us.  How do I know? Because it has pleased the Lord for you to read this when you are reading it.  The Lord bless you and Keep you for this New Year 2021.

-Vanessa Rios