“Happy New Year!”
By Loren Sommer
OK, I said it but it doesn’t really do much for me. I appreciate the day off with lots of football games, but the whole mentality of it seems a bid ridiculous. I marvel when I hear someone say, “Well this year isn’t going any better than the last one!” like having a new calendar was somehow going to change all the wrong to right in the daily flow of time. I understand many people feel guilty about the decisions they have made during the year and New Year’s Day is a universal Mulligan (a golf term for a do-over) if you will for many people. I think it might be a bigger deal to me if I wasn’t a Christian. Let me explain.
I think we as Christians know all about do-overs. Although I know people who think their life is good enough on its own to get into heaven, most of us know through scripture that we are clearly sinners in need of repentance and forgiveness. Even if we don’t think we have broken any of the ten commandments or committed a sin against anyone in any way, we would all be guilty of sins of omission if you take into account all the good we are supposed to do but don’t.
Remember the parable of the talents where the servant who was given one talent and didn’t use it, but hid it instead? Jesus called him wicked! But our God is a God of second chances. The Christian way of life is built on forgiveness, starting with God’s love, grace and mercy. So when we self-examine and then receive Holy Communion for example, the forgiveness we receive is better than the best New Year’s Eve ever! The slate is wiped clean! Thanks be to God! That’s reason for celebration. But it doesn’t stop there.
The apostle Paul exhorts us in Ephesians 4 to “put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Jesus picks us back up like a falling baby learning how to walk. He knows we will fall again even though we are trying not to, but he loves us so much that he is happy to pick up his children again and again.
So let’s live that celebration in 2022. The world needs some light and we are equipped to do it. We will more than likely need the encouragement of others, especially our church family. I know I will. But it’s awesome and the way God intended for it to be. So Happy New Y—wait!
Lamentations 3:22-23 says “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” New every morning?! Can it get any better than that? So, Happy New Day in the Lord! And the day after that, and the day after that, and the day…