So, we draw near to the end of another year, but what does that mean? It means that our planet Earth has almost completed one full orbit of the sun since we last celebrated New Year. But why should we say that the year starts on the 1st of January? Well, it doesn’t for everyone, but Julius Caesar issued an order way back in 46 BC to start this first of January thing going and it was adjusted a bit by Pope Gregory XIII in the 16th century. Now it has become the predominant date all around the world. Again, why should this coming year be numbered 2019? It is, of course supposed to be the number of years since Jesus was born. That has to be taken as an approximate date; give or take six years or so. But it is interesting to note that what is now often called the Common Era dates from what Christians regard as the most significant event in the whole of history. The Gospel announced that a new era began with the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, a new way of being human was opened up. But how many have really embraced this new life in Christ? It remains in tension with the old way of being human. Even for those who have consciously accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour the tension remains. The Christian life is an on-going process of entering into this new humanity, or of being born again. It has been likened to a journey, but it is a journey inspired by a vision of what life is ultimately all about. It is moving from a false self to the true self, from a self-centred world to a God-centred universe. It is moving from a sin-damaged existence into a Spirit-led life in God through a trusting relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a life of hope, of joy, of peace and of love. So, in wishing for you a Happy New Year I pray that you may enter more fully into this true-life experience.
- What differences do you see in the world resulting from the life of Jesus?
- Colossians 3:12-17 might be said to describe the new life to which Christ calls us. What are the characteristics of this new life listed here?
- How do you experience the tension in your own life between the old way of being human and the new way introduced by Jesus?
- Can you make your celebration of the New Year a celebration of your new life in Christ?