The Christmas season is filled with hope . . . and for many of us, with fears too.
One Christmas hymn in particular speaks to my writer’s hopes and fears.
“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 as we approach a new year, all our writing hopes and fears push to the fore.
What do you hope for in your writing life?
- New contracts?
- New contacts?
- An editor who likes your completed manuscript just 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 on every line?
- 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 computer screen, desperate for words that don’t come.
We’re sitting with an editor at a conference, tripping over our tongues.
We hit the send button on that 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 that 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, 2016 will be a terrific year.
Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called. In addition, Ava teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s Word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com.