Summary: How can we start a New Year in the midst of a pandemic? This sermon will try to exhort us on how to face the New Year with global pandemic and crisis.


Christmas is over and we are welcoming the New Year 2021 with questions in mind, with hesitations whether we will make it this whole year or not in terms of our economy, political situations, calamities or even what we are still experiencing – pandemic. We knew how to celebrate Christmas during this time with many limitations and restrictions, but again, this is not a reason for us not to celebrate the most festive celebration in human kind including New Year.

Last week, we heard our dear pastor taught us to have a thankful heart by exhorting us to be humble, worshipful and grateful. And that is the only way to face this New Year 2021, to hold on to His promises and not on our own resources, by acknowledging His works in us leaving us to be in awe of His goodness to us, and lastly to be thankful.

Many received gifts last Christmas and I remember the verse in James 1:17 ERV that says “Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same.”

ASND “Lahat ng mabubuti at angkop na kaloob ay nanggagaling sa Dios na siyang lumikha ng mga bagay sa langit na nagbibigay-liwanag. At kahit pabago-bago at paiba-iba ang anyo ng anino ng mga ito, ang Dios ay hindi nagbabago.”

It says there that He is the author of good and perfect things in us not only during Christmas but all the days of our lives. Everything is perfect to Him just as He planned, just as His will. Yes, even these trials, testing, turmoil that we are experiencing, God has His own way to make it perfect and good for us. That despite of all the losses we suffer, the pain that we endure on this pandemic, the Apostle James said that God made it to be good and perfect for us. He can make good out of these bad things in us!

He also mentioned that these lights come from the Father who made them. The lights that we see in this world are in the form of many things, it can be good or bad that highlights our world today, and that includes even this pandemic. And according to James, these lights may be changing and full of variations. Yes, there may be new strains of COVID-19 or what they call a second wave, it is changing and mutating, that’s bad news. But the good news is that God never change and never will be!

If God does not change, unlike the things that highlights the world today then…

Facing a Pandemic New Year is NOT a Problem

James 1:17

But the question remains…

How to face a pandemic New Year?

We can see it in the life of the Gift of God to mankind – our Lord Jesus.

1. Discover the world.

Jesus’s birth was foretold by the prophets and the coming of the Magi’s made the way for the Messiah to be known all over Israel which made King Herod so furious.

Matthew 2:13-15

13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Here we can see, that there is a coming danger to the life of our Lord Jesus. The angel could have told the first family to be as still because the Father will protect His Son and there will be no danger at all. But with all humility, our Lord Jesus followed what the angel had told Mary and Joseph. They are not excused to discover what was happening in the world that time – this is wisdom!

Similarly, We need to discover the world today only to be informed and not to be struck by fear about it.

God said in 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

The “sound mind” there is about self-control, self-discipline to follow what needs to be done in times of pandemic like this. Actually, the time that Jesus was born, Israel was in turmoil during the reign of King Herod, a puppet government of the Romans. King Herod was willing to kill all the children in Bethlehem in order to kill the Messiah. He was like COVID-19 virus that time that has the power to kill anyone who will interfere his greediness of power.

And similarly, it is now happening in our time in the form of that deadly virus. Yet it is not our excuse not to know and discover the things that highlight the world today. We all know that these things will really need to happen as the Jesus said in Matthew 24:6-8, 21

“6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

All things must happen according to His word. But even if that time comes, we know that we are protected by God. Look at verse 22“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” Are we included in God’s elect? Then we are all protected!

To face this pandemic New Year, we need to discover the things happening around us and…

2. Discern His will.

Matthew 2:19-21

19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” 21So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.

When the angel told Joseph and Mary about the death of Herod, they followed him discerning the will of the Father to His Son. And after that they proceeded to the temple to present Jesus to be consecrated as part of the Jewish customs it was mentioned in Luke 2:22-23.

Upon coming to the temple, there were 2 Christmas characters that played a vital role in the mission of the Messiah in the world – their names are Simeon, who is a righteous and devout and Anna who is a prophet at that time. Both of them were waiting for the coming of Messiah and they discerned that the Savior has already come.

Luke 2:25-32

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for Him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29“Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

Simeon clearly saw and discern the real mission of the Messiah is to bring personal salvation to him, to all the nations whether Gentiles or Jews.

Prophet Anna on the other hand, saw Him too…

Luke 2:36-38

36There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Both of them discerned the purpose of the coming of Messiah. For Simeon it is about the salvation of the world, while for Anna it is about the testimony to tell others about God’s gift to mankind.

This New Year, though it’s pandemic, may we never go away from the real reason for the season and that is to bring hope and salvation to others and to testify God’s goodness for all men. Yes, we had losses last year, and we still are seeing threats to our health’s security and wellness due to the virus, but God’s hope and strength will be with us just like Simeon and Anna.

Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”

God’s mission this New Year is for us to live in peace of mind, hope for His salvation and supplication and to talk about His goodness to others.

To face a pandemic New Year, we need to discern His will according to His Word and…

3. Dedicate our ways.

After Jesus birth and waited for the right time to come out from Egypt, they knew that the child has a mission to accomplish just as the angel told them. So, to begin the mission, they went to the temple not just to follow their Jewish customs to circumcise their child as a sign of the testament of Abraham and God, but to also acknowledge that the power of God must commence on Jesus by means of dedicating Him to the temple.

Luke 2:22-24

22When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Joseph and Mary knew that in order for the power of God to do wonders on Jesus, He needs to be consecrated before God. And we know that after this scene, we would see that Jesus appeared in Jordan river where He was baptized in the water by John the Baptist and the Spirit of God came down to Him while the Father was heard testifying about His Son. But it all started in the dedicating of Jesus in the Temple.

This January our theme in New Year is found in Joshua 3:5 “Joshua told the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.’”

In other translation, they used the word “sanctify or purify”, this means that we need to be holy, righteous and worthy in His sight when we dedicate our ways to God.

Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, HOLY and PLEASING to God – this is your true and proper worship.”

Do you know that in Hebrew the name Jesus means “Yeshua”, which in English means Joshua? So that the act of Jesus being presented to the Temple was to follow the commandment of Joshua for the whole Israelites to be consecrated or to be set apart for the Lord in order to see God’s amazing things happening in them.

This is also true this New Year 2021 and for the rest our lives. We need to see God’s wonders and His amazing acts in the form of healings to any sickness and diseases including this pandemic. His intervention in our economy and political instability. We need to see God’s power in order to see His glory be seen in the 7 pillars of the society. All of these things are possible to see in this generation once we learned to dedicate our ways to Him by being holy and blameless till eternity.

This is our anniversary theme in our Area 18 Las Pinas, to be blameless till eternity. And it will only be possible if we do our part now: consecrate, sanctify or purify ourselves before God in many ways.

Righteous governance is the call for our government officials. In order to see the work of God in our nation, we need to be righteous, including all officials to follow God’s words about governance.

Proverbs 8:15 “By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just.”

Same with our church, we need righteous servants of God who will not be guilty of any sins before God in order to be useful before Him.

2 Timothy 2:21 “Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

To dedicate our ways is to trust in Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Only God’s works and wonders through His words will destroy our enemies, including this pandemic, but we need to dedicate our ways to Him by being consecrated, being holy in His sight in order to face the challenges of 2021. Lastly, and I end, we can face a pandemic New year when we…

4. Develop our walk.

After Jesus’s presentation in the Temple, we can see in Luke 2:39-40 that Jesus developed 3 areas of His life here on earth.

39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

Similarly, We need to develop our walk with God this 2021 in 3 areas:

Physical – Jesus became strong (He was a carpenter)

We need to have a strong immune system this New Year in order to combat the COVID-19 virus. Allow relaxation if it’s available, though with limitations and restrictions, we can still do it. We need to be health-conscious again in order to sustain another virus that would affect us. Remember, God said that we are His temple in order for God to live within us.

Mental – Jesus was filled with wisdom (not just knowledgeable but with God’s wisdom)

That’s why we need to read and meditate His word day and night in order to memorize His promises during the times we needed them.

Joshua 1:8 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Do we want our New Year to be prosperous and successful? Then we need to have a healthy mind so we can have Peace of God.

Proverbs 14:30 ERV “Peace of mind makes the body healthy, but jealousy is like a cancer.”

Spiritual – the grace of God was upon Jesus

According to Ptr. Virgie Hernandez last Sunday on our anniversary “it started with grace and ended up with grace.” Jesus even though, young was able to do God’s work because of God’s grace in Him. Likewise, It is also because of God’s grace that we were able to crossover the whole 2020 being protected and provided by God because of His presence to us!

The next verses we would see Jesus started to do His work by reading and preaching God’s word towards others. In fact, He was busy teaching and preaching His Father’s words in the temple that He was left behind by His own parents in the flesh. Mary and Joseph were so worried about Jesus’s whereabout only to find Him in the temple doing the works of God. And what did He reply to them?

Luke 2:49 ““Why were you searching for Me?” He asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

Likewise, in order to develop our walk with God this 2021, we need to be in God’s presence.


To help us face a pandemic New Year, we need to…

Discover the world and its highlights

Discern the will of God through His words

Dedicate our ways to God

Develop our walk with Him

I really like this story about Professor William Phelps. He taught English Literature at Yale from 1892-1933. Dr. Phelps was grading tests shortly before one Christmas, and he saw a note a student had written next to a tough question on the test. The student wrote, "God only knows the answer to this question. Merry Christmas."

The professor returned the test with his own note under the student’s comment: "God gets an A. You get an F. -- Happy New Year."

I like that statement: "God gets an A." When your world is falling apart and nothing seems to be going your way, God gets an A! (an answer), God gets an A! Even if we get an F (He will give us His A and F His Answer Forever) He is wonderful all the time. We can always rejoice in His goodness, His love and His grace. And we can always rejoice in the Lord, because the Lord is always with us. As Paul said in Phil. 4:5, "The Lord is at hand." So park your heart on the joy of the Lord.

Are we afraid to face this New Year because of pandemic? Jesus can help us face it…

Because He Lives…

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus

He came to love, heal and forgive

He lived and died to buy my pardon

An empty grave is there to prove my savior lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow

Because He lives, all fear is gone

Because I know He holds the future

And life is worth the living, just because He lives

How sweet to hold a newborn baby

And feel the pride and joy He gives

But greater still the calm assurance

This child can face uncertain day, because He lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow

Because He lives, all fear is gone

Because I know He holds the future

And life is worth the living, just because He lives

And then one day, I'll cross the river

I'll fight life's final war with pain

And then, as death gives way to victory

I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He reigns

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow

Because He lives, all fear is gone

Because I know He holds the future

And life is worth the living, just because He lives