Good morning from Ava Pennington, CAN Secretary, in sunny Florida…
The week between Christmas and New Year is a time between times. The build up to Christmas is over. The new year has yet to begin. Anticipation gives way to fatigue. The Christmas decorations seem to have outlasted their welcome, but I’m not ready to take them down yet. And as much as I love Christmas hymns and carols, they seem anticlimactic.
But one Christmas hymn in particular speaks to the writer in me this week.
“O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
Hopes and fears. We writers can be an insecure bunch anyway, but the eve of a new year brings all our writing hopes and fears to the fore.
What do you hope for in your writing life?
An editor who likes your completed manuscript as it is?
A book on the ECPA bestseller list?
What do you fear?
That your last contract is your last contract?
That you won’t ever connect with your dream editor?
That your completed manuscript will bleed edits?
That your sales won’t rise above a trickle?
Rather than ask what you hope for or what you fear, the better question to ask is, To whom do you belong? The answer is found in the third stanza of this hymn:
“How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.”
Jesus is the Christ – the Messiah – the Anointed One – who was born to die. Because of what He did, we have the opportunity and privilege of belonging to the sovereign God of creation. And if we belong to Him, then how can we not trust Him for all our hopes and fears?
Our writing is not our own. We don’t do it for ourselves. We do it for the glory of the One who gave us this gift. The fifth stanza says it all:
”O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!”
Emmanuel. God with us. Lord over us and Lord with us. He is with us when…
…we’re staring at a blank screen, desperate for words that don’t come.
…we’re sitting tongue-tied with an editor at a conference.
…we hit the send button on a finished manuscript.
…our book sales are stellar…or in the basement.
Trust the One you belong to. As the new year begins, give Him your hopes and your fears. Your words and your books. Your contracts and your sales results. Do it, knowing the God who sent His Son to die for you is the same One who gave you the gift of words, and who will use that gift for His glory. If you do, no matter what happens, this new year will be a terrific year.