“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” – Revelation 21:5
A New Year has begun and it is clear that this year’s celebration has a unique element to it. There is a pervasive sense of “good riddance” that has not been a part of previous years.
I get it. 2020 has been, um… noteworthy.
2020 has witnessed a full measure of hardship and difficulty. And while, admittedly, this past year has been harder than those of recent memory, it has hardly been hardship “on a scale hitherto undreamt of.”
World Wars, Great Depressions, presidential assassinations, natural disasters, and national turmoil are just a sampling of the challenges that have cycled through our history. Every generation faces memorable and defining moments. For this generation, 2020 has been such a moment… and it won’t be the last.
This is not to downplay the challenge 2020 has been (challenges that are not over), but to help frame our experience on a larger scale. 2020 has been labeled “unprecedented,” when in reality it has simply been unique to our experience. We do well, for faith and maturity, to reflect appropriately on these past 10 months. And we do far better to ground our hopes rightly in 2021.
However, far more importantly than evaluating the past year appropriately, is anticipating the New Year honestly.
Our hope cannot be that 2020 is done and 2021 is here. It’s not as if buying a new planner washes away the difficulty of our present circumstance. Reality, unlike desk calendars, cannot simply be recycled and forgotten. For those trusting that this year is not last year, hope will continue to be perpetually postponed until circumstances change.
The New Year is not a simple reset. It’s not as if all the bad is flushed and a new blank slate merely looks up at us with no blemishes and endless promise. This view of hope cannot last for ill marks come early and the hollow promise of empty optimism is quickly revealed.
However, for those whose hope is in the preservation of a faithful God, hope never truly wanes. While our ability to hold onto that hope may at times waver, the substance of our hope only grows.
A christian’s hope is an enduring hope. It perseveres through hardship. And therein lies the great promise of the New Year — not in the promise of an unblemished calendar, but in our confidence in His unblemished record.
The same God who has seen us through this past year will see us through the next. Comforted by His past faithfulness, we take courage in His ability to lay hold of us. His power and goodness have been clearly demonstrated, so we have a renewed confidence for the coming year. In this way, the New Year stirs our hope as we pursue the potential of His purposes into this new year.
So… HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Let us be reminded (and remind one another) of the hope that we have before us. A hope that is so much deeper than merely turning the page on a bad year and wishing for a better one.
Our God and Father has seen fit to give us another year, a year that holds all the promise and hope of his plans and purposes. And just as He has proven Himself faithful in the past, He will carry us through into the future.
The New Year doesn’t bring a new hope, but a renewed hope in our faithful God. Our calendar may change but our confidence does not.
Hallelujah, what a Savior!