Some of us bring in the New Year with great gusto. One of my Facebook friends wrote: ‘Happy 2012! I love NEWNESS!’
Others of us are much less bold to step out into something new. We prefer to cling to the old, the well-known, the comfortable – like an old pair of slippers.
One theory is that the young welcome the new because they don’t have enough life-experience to know that it might hold pain and sickness, even death; while those of us who are older are more fearful because we know that for sure our future will contain some of those things.
But I don’t think it’s purely or exclusively an age thing. It’s also a temperament thing. Some of us have a half-full glass while others have a half-empty glass – and that is the glass through which we will view the New Year – pardon the pun.
An age thing? A temperament thing? It’s also a comfort thing. And most of us are creatures who love comfort. The Christmas holidays are, for many of us, filled with feasting and family gatherings and food and fun. Then the New Year comes. The Christmas decorations come down. The family members leave. Our normal routine of work and routine beckons. Ouch.
If the gospel doesn’t touch our lives in these moments, then it isn’t for real. As Paul Tripp is fond of saying, very view of us live in a world of big moments. Most of our moments are small moments, apparently insignificant moments. Like facing work tomorrow. How will we do it? In the same way as those whose lives the gospel hasn’t touched yet? With a groan? With a sigh? Telling ourselves that at least the weekend is coming soon? Or our Easter break? Or our summer holiday?
Jesus didn’t come just for Christmas. If he had, how sad we would be when the New Year comes. He came to stay. Emmanuel – God is with us – forever.
That is why – whatever our age, whatever our temperament, whatever our temptation to idolise comfort – we can face the New Year – with confidence. Because Jesus lives. He lives in me and he lives in you. And I live in him and you live in him. Christ in me (Colossians 1:27) and me in Christ (I Cor.1:30).
This week I have heard people say ‘I hope the New Year is kinder to you than last year’. I know what they mean – and I hope so too. Many of us experienced loss and sadness and a great deal of pain last year and we are hoping for better things this year. But for those of us who are in Christ, we know that it is not the New Year which will decide what happens. God is sovereign and our new year is in his hands – his gracious hands. He will decide what our future holds. Nothing can happen to us which he has not permitted. And wherever we find ourselves, he will be there with us. So let us step into the New Year with confidence in him.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.