THE HOPE OF A NEW YEAR
What really changes with the coming of a new year? In reality it’s simply a turn of a calendar page. We’ll say goodbye to the year 2021 on a Friday night and welcome 2022 on a Saturday morning. Which will be followed by a Sunday and so on, just as it’s been for centuries.
So what is it about the coming of a new year that feels like such a fresh start? I don’t have the answer. All I know is that when we cross over an invisible threshold within the construct of time, it truly does feel like a new beginning.
I think as humans we cling to a fascination and a desire for new beginnings. With a new beginning, there’s new hope. There’s so much opportunity for growth and betterment, which is where our love for New Year’s resolutions comes into play.
Personally I believe a new beginning, whether it be the start of a new year, week, or even day, refreshes my motivation and brings a certain level of excitement. Perhaps it’s the potential of new things to come.
As I reflect on this past year and look forward to a new one, I think of the beginnings I know so many of you are stepping into.
I’ve heard stories from several missionary families who are preparing to send a recent high school graduate to the United States for college – a transition and cultural shift which seems a little scary and new. I know of others who have been training and preparing to send out other families in pursuit of church planting. There are new NEXT interns who are stepping into a season of preparation before they are sent out this year.
Even within the Resource Team at Global Partners, I hear of goals to hit – how can we better support our missionaries, how can we get the word out, how can we send more people to reach those 4 in 10 who haven’t heard the gospel? The start of a new year allows us to refresh our mindsets and take on these goals with determined hearts.
Whether or not you become sentimental and reflective upon the coming of a new year, scripture acknowledges the significance of a new beginning and of being made new. I find that there is so much hope tied in with the discussion of newness, and I pray that these are good reminders for you too.
In advising how to begin the application of truths he has taught in Ephesians, Paul testifies to the new life we can find through our relationship with Christ.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” – Ephesians 4:22-24
Ezekiel discusses the gift of a new heart and a new spirit as a result of the Lord’s promise of renewal.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” -Ezekiel 36:26-27
In Lamentations we find the promise of new mercy.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’” -Lamentations 3:22-24
One of my personal favorite Bible verses also promises that we have purpose. God is with us always, and He is not finished with us yet!
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 1:6
I pray these reminders bring you a sense of hope and encourage you to look forward to the things God will do in this upcoming year and beyond. With the start of this new year, would you join me in prayer for the new beginnings we are all stepping into?
Father God, thank you for new beginnings.
We praise you for the promises we read about in scripture which tell us we are new creations through you and that your mercies are new every single day. We find rest, peace and hope not only in these promises but also in knowing that you are a promise keeper.
As we step into a new year and take on new beginnings and challenges, I pray that you would bless the work each of us has set out to do, in order to bring glory to your name. I pray that you would hold those who are facing scary changes close to you. That you would make a way for those who are being sent out. And that you would give us the strength we need to remain open-minded, flexible and willing as we will navigate through inevitable challenges, heartache and surprises.
We do not know what this year will contain. But we do know that you’re already there, and we rest in that peace. We also know that you are not finished with us yet – and we praise you for this assurance and for the purpose you have given each of us.
I pray for growth, perseverance, joy and hope over this next year. Lord Jesus, be near. Amen.