What a delightful word is this little term “new.” New shoes, new friends, new ideas, “that new car smell,” a new baby, a new job, or a new book. The possibilities seem to be limitless. Now the word “new” can be put with bad things too, like new troubles, or new debts, etc., but when the word is taken by itself it generally carries with it a pretty positive idea. We like things that are new. Even if we say we prefer antiques, we especially appreciate them it they’re “like new” or restored to their original condition. “New” has a pristine innocence about it. “New” is clean and alive. “New” brings hope.
This is perhaps clearly seen in our annual, festive celebration of the “New” Year. What possibilities await us in the freshness of this anticipated coming year? For sure, some are ready to welcome 2021! Bring it! Others may respond to this question with questions of their own. Will 2021 be any different than 2020? Or will it be more of the same? Maybe worse? 2020 has been a year full of ups and downs, a roller coaster of hope and discouragement and pain for many. Some have made “2020” a new term for trouble and craziness. For some, their hope is sapped. They are tapped out of joy and anticipation right now. Maybe you are one of the sapped and tapped. You desperately want that to end. Knowing there are many things outside of your control, how can you endure? On what, or more importantly, on who is your hope focused? How can you find lasting comfort and joy? I think the words of Heidelberg Catechism 1 are helpful to meditate on:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
Consider also that God Himself encourages us with the thought of “new” things. As a matter of fact, He is the God of newness.
- He will make all things new (Revelation 21:5).
- He saves us in the New Covenant (Mark 14:24).
- He has opened a new and living way into His presence through the blood of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Mediator of that New Covenant (Hebrews 10:19-22).
- He has told us, “Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation: old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- We expect and await the full comfort of His promise in 2 Peter 3:13, “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
- Our God truly is the God of newness and life. He is the living and true God. (1 Thessalonians 1:9).
The wonder of God’s creative “newness” is that what He makes new never grows old. It never tarnishes or fades. It neither wears out nor loses its beauty and strength. His newness is life forever in fellowship with Him and with His Son Jesus Christ. “And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3).
As we celebrate this new year, I encourage you to remember that it’s an awesome gift from God and ought to be received and welcomed with thanksgiving in our hearts and warm praises in our mouths. God has given this new year to us to serve Him, to learn more of His love and forgiveness towards us in Christ through His everlasting New Covenant, and to trust Him for His blessings to us, our families, and our congregation. This year will have its sorrows and cares. We, by his grace, will accept them from His sovereign, loving hand. We’ll not shy away from picking up the Cross and following our Lord Jesus Christ in this new year. Yet, we know we’ll never walk alone. He created the ages of time and He’ll be with us in whatever the new year holds. Whatever troubles may come, we have a home and a hope beyond them because we belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
”And He has put a new song in my mouth, praise to our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:3.