Happy New Year!
There’s something about the word new that I like; a new pair of running shoes, a new book, a new car (in my dreams). The word elicits all sorts of warm feelings. It speaks to freshness; something unspoiled and something pristine. It involves hope and happiness. Perhaps that’s why “Happy New Year” sounds good.
Social media has certainly marked 2016 as a year to be forgotten; spoiled by violence in our cities, incivility in our politics, and deaths among the superstars. The year included European chaos; Brexit, Russian pressure in eastern Ukraine, Syrian and Libyan refugee crises, and radical Islamic terrorism. In other parts of the world cyber-terrorism has made front-page news, while Boko Haram and similar groups continue to oppress innocents in northern Africa.
“Out with the old and in with the new” sounds very appealing. If only we could change everything by changing the date. How nice if we could sweep the house clean by flipping the calendar over from December 31 to January 1.
It’s never so easy.
Yet, Christian faith (deep trust in Christ) asserts that indeed a time is coming when all things will be made new.
New is one of our great and most assured words! We have already been made new as individuals, and put on the new self (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24) when we said “Yes” to Jesus and His Way. He makes us a new creation (Galatians 6:15). He can have “a new and living way” (Hebrews 10:20), even as we anticipate a new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1) that will one day supersede the decay and the brokenness that surround us every day.
Last year was fraught not only with international conflict but many of us experienced that at a personal level, I’m sure. Our marriages suffered, our children wandered, our churches fractured, and our workplaces restructured. Yet, for all of the heartache and heartbreak, we hold onto one of the most distinctively Christian words in the New Testament — new.
New times await. New opportunities lie just around the bend as we place our confidence in the One whose “mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23) and who declares in the great final vision, “Behold, I am making everything new” (Revelation 21:5).
So, we embrace the new year, as we embrace the conviction that faith in Christ makes new things possible, every day. Indeed, the more we lean into Him, the more the old things pass away. Behold new things come.