1 January 2017

How do you feel about the start of a new year?

Does it fill you with excitement, or fill you with anxiety?

Are you looking forward to a happy event and all that the future might hold, or dreading that milestone birthday or saddened by failing health and the relentless marching of time?

Do you love making New Year’s resolutions, or hate them? Maybe this is the year that you really will get fit, or finish that project at home, or mend that relationship. Or perhaps this is the year you will manage to read the whole Bible in a year, or get to Bible study or church more regularly.

Maybe this last year has been tough, and you are grateful for a new year ‘without any mistakes in it yet’ (as Anne Shirley, of Green Gables fame, would say).

The beginning of a new year is a good opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed, and consider what is ahead. There is certainly value in renewing our commitment to God and his word, to his people and to our families, and to caring for our bodies, the ‘the tent that is our earthly home’. It is right to be thankful for the year that has passed, and the year that is beginning. It is good to acknowledge God’s faithfulness to us and his love and care for us, whether in times of comfort or of hardship.

Yet no New Year’s resolution, no matter how good, will actually make us new. We long to be new. We know we need to be new. We work very hard to make ourselves new, or at least to look new. But all the hype is misleading. We cannot make ourselves new.

But there is good news. The Bible tells us that God makes us new. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5…

‘if anyone in in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.’

For sinners, (and I’m sorry friends, but that’s all of us), there is a way to be new, and it’s through Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection. In it we have forgiveness, and in it we are made new. It is being united with Christ that actually makes us new. And this newness will change us. In Colossians 3, Paul says that our lives are now ‘hidden with Christ in God’. This is what enables us to put off the old way of life, and put on the new.

As we reflect on the past year, with all its hurt and happiness, we can be grateful for God’s forgiveness that extends even to us. None of us deserves it, and none of us is beyond it. And Anne was on the right track – Lamentations 3 tell us that God’s mercies are new every morning (and every year!) So as we look forward to the year ahead, we can thank God for his mercy, and that in Christ we have been made new.

New year, new you.

With love in Christ,
Stacey
Women’s Ministry Coordinator