As I write this, it is the day before New Year’s Eve, bringing not only an end to the year, but an end to the decade. It seems like just yesterday we were coming to the end of the 20th century, with all of its fears of Y2K. We can look back at that time and laugh now. How silly were we? This New Year may not bring the same kind of fears, but once again fear does seem to be in the air. Or at least an uneasiness. There’s the recession that seems to be getting worse; fears over the political direction our country is taking; fears over the moral decay; or the terrorist threat; or global warming. It seems like every decade has its own unique threats hovering over us.
Not that those threats are not sometimes real. But how often have our fears gone unrealized? You would think we would have learned something from that by now.
If you want to usher in the New Year with a hopeful and excited outlook, just look up the word "new" in a Bible concordance and peruse through a few passages. I like Isaiah 43.18-19, for example:
“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.”
Throughout the Scriptures God is always promising something new. No matter how bad the past or present might seem, God promises hope and renewal. The idea of “new” looms large in Christ. God has promised to give us a new heart and new spirit (Ezek 36.26), which we gain as we experience the new birth (Jn 3.3-5; Rom 6.3-4) when we come into a new covenant (Heb 8) where we have newness of life (Rom 6.4) and serve in newness of the Spirit (Rom 7.6). Jesus promised that he will drink the cup of the covenant new with us in the kingdom (Mk 14.25). He gives us a “new commandment” (Jn 13.34) and makes us new creatures (2 Cor 5.17) as we put on a new self (Eph 4.24). We are given a new name (Rev 3.12) and sing a new song (Rev 5.9; 14.3) while we wait for the new heavens and earth (2 Pet 3.13), as we live in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21.2). And the last “new” statement in the Bible says: “And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’”
Kind of gives new meaning to the New Year, doesn’t it? Have happy New Year in Christ everyone!