It’s that time again – wow! Time flies! It seems 2014 just got started and here we are again saying “Happy New Year” and watching the ball drop at Time Square. The usual cartoon drawings are featured in the January 1 newspapers -- “Old Father Time—2014” leaving the world’s stage and the “Infant Year 2015” coming joyfully onto the stage.
For it is at this time of year that we look back – with joy, sadness, regret, whatever – and forward into the unknown future of the New Year. We make our resolutions and hope, no matter what the last year was, that 2015 will be better.
Resolutions like: exercise more, lose some weight, read my Bible everyday, pray more, be more faithful to the church, and on and on we go. For Christians, the New Year many times begins with special worship at the church. We pray, sing, hear a sermon challenging us to genuine commitment, and then we go out into the night – the first hours of the New Year – with great determination to make it so. And with God’s help it can be so.
Remember the Apostle Paul’s words: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Remember Jesus’ words, “Go into all the world . . . and I will be with you.” A New Year with all of the opportunities it offers to us and the promise of God to be with us – 2015 can be a great year!
The arrangement of our calendar is so symbolic – Thanksgiving followed almost immediately by Christmas followed immediately by the New Year. We can thank God for all the blessings that have been ours during the year – Thanksgiving – and then be reminded of the great hope, love, and grace of God seen in Jesus – Christmas – with its reminder that a new beginning is possible.
To the fishermen he said, “Come follow me.” To Zaccheaus, “Come down, I must abide at thy house today.” To Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again.” Each word of the Savior is replete with hopeful possibilities. “Come follow me – you can, you know!” “I must abide at thy house – and I can be a part of your life from this time on, you know.” “You must be born again – you can, you know, start all over again.”
Christmas with all of its promises of redemption, salvation, love, grace, hope, and peace.
The possibility of a new beginning, a new start, a new birth. Someone wrote words like this many years ago: The New Year lies before us, like a field of freshly fallen snow, be careful where you walk, for every step will show.
There’s something great about being given a new start, a new beginning. In life God loves us and no matter what we’ve been, we can start over. That’s the Christmas message. That’s the challenge of a New Year. Christ came, lived out his life in our midst, challenged us to follow after him, gave himself at Calvary for our sins, died, and rose again. It’s possible to start all over again. Thank you, God, thank you!
“Because He Lives” That is the message we celebrate at this Christmas time, at this New Year’s beginning, and, in fact, every Sunday in worship – because He lives, we too can live!
So . . . where ever we may be in our lives – happy time, sad times, all times – because of God’s love we can truly say and mean every word – HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Blessings on the Journey!