What’s New about Your New Year?
Now that we’re in position of a brand new, sparkling, un-messed up, New Year, 2015, I was wondering what’s new about it. What got me to thinking about it was a fellow that I ran into who was neither excited about Christmas or the holidays or the New Year. According to him, the New Year is just the same old same old. At the moment I didn’t want to make a big issue out of it, but the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that the old year and the new year is in some measure, if not in large measure, a lot of what we make out of it.
Sometimes the problem is that we don’t recognize what’s new in the New Year and so we just keep all the old stuff that we had and drag it into another calendar. Or to paraphrase the president, if you like your bad attitude, you can keep your bad attitude, and if you like your constant frown, you can keep your constant frown. And about this time next year you’ll find out that 2015 was just about like 2014 except maybe slightly worse.
What is there about midnight of December 31 turning to January 1 and something incredible taking place? We make a big deal out of it and possibly there is some new in a New Year. Now everyone doesn’t start a new year when we do. To study calendars is a fascinating thing and there are many other dating mechanisms than just our traditional Western calendar, sometimes called the Christian calendar or the Gregorian calendar. Whichever calendar you date by, most cultures see significance in a new day as the earth begins to make a new trek around the sun. But what’s new?
For one thing, there are new seasons all of which could be refreshing and exciting. Sitting here in the cold days of winter, we will, in only weeks, be walking into the dynamic new growth and splendor of spring, then wonderful warm summer, then the artistry and beauty of color in fall, and back to the cool down of winter. But there are more seasons than just those four. The wise man of the Old Testament wrote in what some see as a very negative book, Ecclesiastes, and in chapter 3 he reminds us that life is made up of the various seasons. “A time to be born, and a time to die” (v. 2) the bookends of life, but he didn’t stop there. All in between there are those things that we find to be wonderful and exciting, uplifting and enriching, but he includes the reality of those things that we think are difficult and downers. The truth is many of them are just other seasons of life. Each in its own way to be faced, understood and even celebrated. While rarely do we ever look at that as a good thing, I have seen death arrive welcomed and embraced by saints as though it was a refreshing, old friend at the end of the journey of life. Probably if you read through Ecclesiastes 3 and its opening verses and pause long enough to let God speak to your heart, you will begin to see some of the winter seasons of life as not being enemies, so much as a means of God to work in our lives.
In this New Year, there are not only new seasons but new reasons. This is even more important than the seasons because whatever you do the seasons will roll around. But the reasons, that’s for you and me to determine. What is your reason for living? Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt. 16:25). Strange, isn’t it? The more of our life that is poured out, the more life we have. And the more that we grasp and hold on and become self-centered, the less of life we enjoy. It is amazing but true. What are your reasons for getting up each day? I know job and work, put food on the table, exist, but what is at stake is purpose for living. Not just existence but being engaged in those things in life that bring meaning and joy. This New Year will be filled with 365 days, each one of which will have one to a dozen good reasons for you to be alive. The Lord has a plan for your life, a good plan for good things, and if you can set you aside enough to see His perfect plan you will find the joys of life flowing
What’s new? Well, one other thing that will be new in the New Year is treasons. The word treason can also be called betrayal and there will be new treasons. See, sin is always a wrong decision that is a betrayal of the plan of God and even self-betrayal. You rob yourself of the blessings of what God wants to do in your life when you don’t do what He wants you to do. You may have had some of those days in the past, but there will be those decisions that will be made in the future. Listen to God and obey Him. Do not betray yourself. Do not commit treason against your own heart. God will help you. In fact He brings new things every day in every way, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17). Our Christ makes all things new and we can look to Him and walk in Him and live for Him and this will without a doubt be a New Year and God will mightily bless you.