Year after year the celebrations abound. From intimate home gatherings to masses of humanity in Time Square and other places around the world, the New Year is ushered in with joyful anticipation and the magic hinges on the clock. Champagne bottles pop, streamers flow and kisses confirm its arrival.
So what is it that we are celebrating? We can trace the origin, which is sort of boring, or we can consider the relevance of a new year in our lives. One thing is certain, what lies ahead of us is completely unknown. Those 365 squares on the calendar are blank for a reason. Yes, for the most part we will fill them in with our plans, but we will also write the unexpected upon them that will include joys and sorrows, opportunities realized and denied, along with life’s arrivals and departures. Though we don’t know what the future holds, we do know that whatever comes, life is worth celebrating! The longer I flip the pages of calendars, the more I recognize the value of life and the reality of its eternal nature.
We live in the framework of time, but we have been created for eternity ~ all of us ~ every believer, every non-believer, every race, color and creed. God has made us eternal beings, but where we spend eternity is decided by who we trust while the calendar still matters.
Day in and day out humanity strives to find purpose in routines, significance in performance, affirmation in relationships, comfort in hurt, resolve in conflict and assurance that life has meaning. More often than not, the years pass without the fullness of what we had hoped for. Perhaps that’s why we gather. We come with a longing for a fresh start. We want to put disappointments behind us and set our sites on a hopeful new beginning. It’s a wonderful thought, but the clock ringing in the new year can’t promise that. Only God can and only at the hour He has appointed.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride and adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (Revelation 21:1-5 NKJV)
That is the hope of a whole new beginning! Believers are assured of it because of Jesus’ willing sacrifice at Calvary and triumphant resurrection from the tomb. Unbelievers are warned about it, giving time to turn from that which condemns. “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (vs 8) God does not withhold the grim scenario because He wants us to understand the consequences of choice and He does not desire that any should perish. He has made clear that new life is found in His Son, Jesus. To reject Him is to reject salvation. The darkest of sins can be brought to Jesus, confessed, forsaken and forgiven, thereby exchanging a destiny of hopelessness to an eternity of wholeness.
Time is counting down. At the appointed hour, the years of prophecy, the words of hope and words of warning will have reached completion and eternity’s new beginning will be ushered in. Will you find it a cause for celebration? If you haven’t made time to come to the Savior, don’t wait. A faith relationship with Him can change the last appointment on your calendar to a glorious reservation in eternity where life will truly be a new beginning.