New Mercies in 2016
The Christmas holiday season is over and a new year has come. After festivities have ended and you’ve cleaned most of the wrapping and tissue paper off of the floor, you glance at the Christmas tree with its lights and beauty, and for a moment or maybe an evening it seems like time is still - stillness at the end of chaos.
As I sit here today, on the first days of the year, knowing 2015 is gone and 2016 is here, this seems like real stillness. Not just stillness in comparison to the chaos, but true stillness. During these moments it feels like I have the opportunity to breathe, free of distraction, and consider the year to come.
Even if it seems like nothing in the world or in your personal life is changing, there’s an understood opportunity for newness. There’s nothing magical about the clock changing from 11:59 to 12:00 on December 31st, but still somehow the world recognizes, and most celebrate, this opportunity for newness. It’s odd to me that this can be exciting for people who haven't come to know the truth of the gospel. The New Year holiday is defined as this chance for leaving the old behind and gaining a clean slate from no action or deservedness of your own. It's significant enough to our culture to throw a multimillion dollar party in Time Square and throw two thousand pounds of confetti in the air. It's heralded in almost every home across the nation. We celebrate this newness, but we - both believers and nonbelievers- often reject the gift of true newness offered every moment (and not just yearly) by the very One who created this new year.
Don't get me wrong, I celebrated the New Year last night and enjoyed every moment. I toasted, I made resolutions, I embraced every part of the New Year’s traditions and dressings. December 31st had come to an end and 2016 arrived with all it's promises of new things. Among all this excitement and newness I also had weird dreams last night, woke up feeling unrested and anxious, had a fight with my husband, and then a less than ideal first day of 2016. There’s nothing more tempting than to throw away this prized opportunity of newness, when on day one I'm met with struggles. THANK GOD my newness doesn’t just come once a year because I might as well just sleep this one off and wait for December 31, 2016 to come…it’s in this moment that I am reminded Jesus came to offer me a gift—
“The steadfast love of the Lord never cases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” –Lamentations 3:22
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…” –Acts 3:19
This year, I hope to repent and I hope to receive newness, and not hesitate in my self-pity, hurt, pride, or doubt. How much time have I wasted, have we wasted, in the waiting when we can walk in newness of life, fully surrendered? The understanding of this promise from the Father doesn’t change the reality that I didn't make it an hour into the new year without experiencing a struggle, but it does change how I respond.
What things would you like to see happen with your New Year? Let's rejoice in the reality that the newness our culture celebrates with the turn of a calendar year has no comparison to the newness of life we receive daily in Christ. His mercies are new now and will continue to be new every morning that you rise in 2016.