A Fresh Start and a New Year
December 29, 2012 in Heart-songs
2013 is upon us.
And with the magic of Christmas still lingering in the air, we are tempted to believe that this New Year holds unforeseen promise as well .
I thought about this as I prepared to throw away my wall calendar from 2012. There it laid in the cold underbelly of the trash can… torn, scribbled over, with marked up pages containing the happenings of my life over the past year. Some of these pages remind me of precious passing moments that I could relive over and over. Other pages remind me of days or moments that I might like to forget- like that fight I had with my husband over the thanksgiving turkey…Come on, Callie. Was it worth it? Or the week I spent stressing out about homeschooling the kids, or the time I got Bells Palsy at the kid’s Bible school.
But my new calendar- the one I plan to pick out- with it’s new, crisp, white pages and it’s possibility and promise, gives me a false sense of starting over…as does the new year itself.
I bet you’re asking… Is that really such a bad thing?
I think yes.
Because those of us with tender consciences and hopeful hearts are tempted to believe that this new year is a symbolic “restart”, or ” new beginning”. And this “clean slate” could be the bitter tragedy that keeps playing on repeat throughout the entirety of 2013.
In fact, it will.
Because although we do sincerely desire to be the people we want to be- the people that we should be- it won’t happen. At least not overnight on the 31st like we expect. It takes time (and the Holy Spirit) to be a patient, loving, caring person. It takes time to confront and deal with sin. It takes time to work through anger and forgiveness and bitterness and resentment. And the cold hard truth of the matter is, our hearts will be just as wicked in 2013 as they were in 2012.
We can have no hope that lighting a sparkler, making a wish, and buying a new calendar will fundamentally change who we are on the inside.
We can’t place our hope in a new year, or in the person we hope to be. We will be disappointed time and time again. In January of next year we will still look back and see days when we were mean, and rude, and sinful. We will remember moments when we clenched our sides and cried with heartache over the evil and darkness revealed within our person. We won’t look in the mirror and see someone new. We will still not look like the person we are meant to be- the person that we want to be. And we won’t in 2014. We won’t be that person until glory. (1 John 3:2)
And here is the beauty of the Gospel that I place me hope in. Although I am broken, and blemished, and dirty… and although I have no hope of being anything else… my Savior offered himself up as the spotless lamb and died a horrific death, conquered sin, rose again and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He has promised to prepare a place for me in His Father’s house. He has promised that when the Father looks at me, he won’t see me- or the days in my calendar that reflect my sin and failure. But He will see the righeousness of His Son, which is imputed to me. I have been covered by the blood of my Savior, and made new.
That newness, as some believe, was not a one-time restart that created for me an opportunity to “earn” my place in His Kingdom. But it was a one-time victory over sin, by my Savior. And though I am despondent that I won’t wake up on the first a new person, full of hope and opportunity…
I am overjoyed that my standing in front of God does not depend on the person I am in 2013, or 14, or 15 or ever.
My hope is set firmly in the person of Jesus Christ, and the immutability of His nature- the faithfulness of His life, and the goodness and kindness and perfection of His character.
This, is a reason to celebrate a New Year.