“Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus out!” And the dead man cameout, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, “Untie him and let him go.”
John 11:43-44, NLT
One of the irreplaceable gifts of a New Year, by all accounts, is that we’ve awakened to a new start and a new life. This is not to be taken for granted, for there is nothing more precious than life itself. At the break of this New year, eyes, ears, thoughts and prayers have been directed to the health plight of Damar Hamlin, a 24-year-old safety for the Buffalo Bills. Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after a tackle on Monday night, January 2, 2023, in the Bills game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Since then, Hamlin hasremained in critical condition; unconscious. However, on Thursday, January 4, 2023 it was reported that Hamlin became conscious and alert. The first thing one of his doctors said was, “Welcome home, Damar.” Hamlin communicating through a notepad asked, “Did we win?” The doctor answered, “Yes Damar. You won the game of life.” Of course, we know that life is more than a game; but it is certain that to be awakened with new life is at the core of our faith in Jesus Christ. Each day we place our feet on the earth’s surface, we’re reminded that a new opportunity has arrived. I think of this as I read again the story of Jesus and Lazarus. They were, according to Scripture, “Dear friends.” A true, life-long friendship alone, is a great treasure. Perhaps, this isbecause, as Judy Viorist said some years ago, “We become friends only in spots.” Lazarus was dead. Gone. This was one of only several life moments, we see Jesus openly weeping in the scriptures. Confident in His mission, Jesus calls Lazarus from death to life. He tells the grave attendants to unravel the grave clothes that bound Lazarus. Lazarus awakened to a new start. You and I have awakened to a “new day and a bright hope.” Let’s remove all entanglements. Let’s walk boldly by faith, toward our new destiny! Welcome home!