Every year, it’s the same. When the magic of Christmas morphs into a craving for normalcy, we attack the house with determination! Like tin soldiers, we march the boxes of holiday decorations up to the attic to hibernate for the next eleven months. The furniture pieces finally stand at attention in their rightful places. The vacuum readies the floor for inspection. When my planner says December 31, I feel driven to launch the new year clean and organized — well, as much as possible with a loveable pack-rat husband in the house!
For me, when another year makes its debut, there’s something invigorating about the pursuit of unlittered spaces, tidy drawers and easy-to-find-it closets. I delight in the mystery of a fresh journal and the anticipation of an unexplored project or opportunity. Deep inside I find myself eager for change. Even the concept of new acknowledges the reality of old. I feel grateful for the prospects of starting over, for the relief of leaving the past behind. I’m more than ready to press the reset button.
So much potential waits unbirthed in the word new. So much promise. A new year and a new beginning . . . but there’s one problem. I’m the same old me. What difference does a new calendar make? I have the same weaknesses, the same blind spots, the same propensities for mistakes, for…sin. I’d like to wrestle out of this prison suit of flesh, but it marks me. Though positionally I’m free from sin and I’ve been named a new creation, my very nature still contains me like barbed wire. I can't seem to live up to my own ideals. Like the apostle of old, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18b, 19).
A brand new year, but the same old me. Yet, God is the same, too (Psalm 102:27). He is the great I AM (John 8:58), “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He offers the same love-motivated redemption (1 John 3:16). His forgiveness cleanses me (1 John 1:9). His promise to never leave me or forsake me gives security and stability (Hebrews 13:5). I, with my flesh-stamped heart, can enter the new year’s untold secrets with confidence. The God of the universe remains unchanged. I can count on Him.
As I step into 2013, I want to focus on the same gracious, consistent God instead of on the same old me. I want to reach beyond the temporal sense of time to the eternal. I long to hear His words when He will press the reset button for the last time: “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
* First published in Catapult Magazine, Vol. 9, Num. 24, 2010.12.31-2011.01.13.