At the end of our lives, do we want to be known for building, or for destroying? For loving, or for hating? For bringing freedom, or bondage? For living to gratify our fading flesh, or to benefit our generation…and generations to come? Because only God knows when we’ll take our final breath.
The New Year brings with it the promise of new opportunities. When the calendar turns, we see a clean slate before us. Things we’ve been waiting to change finally meet the resolve that comes with a fresh start. As we reflect on the year that’s fading into memory, we consider the year to come and all we desire it will bring.
Unfortunately, many of the resolutions made with the turning of the year never come to fruition. A few weeks pass, and discipline wanes. Desire for change is overcome by the monotony of life, and it becomes easier to slip back into old patterns. It isn’t long before our resolutions are forgotten, and the guilt of not meeting our goals is buried beneath the tyranny of the urgent. “Oh well,” we think. “We can always wait…’til next year.”
Why must we wait? Why put off change for another year, when there’s an opportunity to change…now? God’s Word carries the good news that change is possible every day: “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
With God, every day is New Year’s Day. He supplies the power we need to change. We don’t need to keep putting it off. When we stumble and fall—when we wrestle with our old habits and ways, we don’t have to wait long for another chance to turn it all around. Every minute of every day is a new opportunity for transformation. Today is the day of salvation, this moment is the moment for renewal and change. We don’t have to wait another second, another minute…another year. This is the time for new beginnings—a new season, a new day.
Yet with this hope comes the somber reality that tomorrow is not promised. We never know when we will take our last breath. So why not spend our every breath living the transformed life we desire, rather than living dead in the grave of regret? Change is possible. Today is a new day. We may not have tomorrow, so let’s make the most of the gift of the time we have.
It’s over. The gifts are unwrapped. Toys are scattered across the floor. The cookie plates are empty of everything but crumbs. And we’re passed out in bed, exhausted from the whole ordeal.
In a few minutes the kids will wake up to play with their new toys. In a few hours, they’ll be bored. In a few days, at least one of those toys will be broken. The rest will be lost, worn down, or missing parts. In a few weeks, they’ll be forgotten; in a few months they’ll be in the garbage. In a year, the kids will be asking for new toys all over again.
It’s the circle of life, Christmas style. Have you noticed the theme? Nothing new stays new. No matter how we take care of our things, they’ll all waste away.
Yet written on our hearts is a longing for permanence. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything stayed new all the time? Instead, we watch our treasured possessions slowly disintegrate before our eyes.
The message of Christmas breathes life into the surrounding decay. It’s a reversal of things—the old made new, the dying made alive. The hopeless infused with hope. Everything of worth will last.
God has promised to make all things new. Because of Christmas, broken hearts can be restored, lives can be renewed. When all is lost, everything is gained. It’s then that we find life that is truly life—a hope that can never fade away.
So it’s not really over. Christmas is the beginning of all things new.
The very first Christmas was a time of political unrest and social upheaval, a king so evil and power hungry he would resort to killing innocent children to protect his throne. In the midst of such evil, hope came alive—a hope great enough to inspire beautiful songs written in times of deep darkness.
On this side of the world, Christmas comes at the darkest time of the year. How appropriate that in the darkest of days we’re blessed with candles and lights and words of hope. And how appropriate that come Christmas, the darkest days have passed.
Not a tear goes uncollected, not a prayer goes unheard, no matter how long I wait in the in-between, or no matter that the answer may be no or not now. My Father always hears and ever answers, even when it’s not the answer I desire or expect, I know I’m not forgotten.