I wasn’t very old – the first time I celebrated on New Year’s Eve to ring in the New Year. My mother and dad were already in bed … and so were my brothers. I sat alone – watching our black and white TV (the only one we had in the house) – waiting for “the ball to drop” (the one at Times Square).
I was tired, and it was cold. I was already dressed for bed (which meant I was sitting in my underwear); but I had one sparkler left – so I was not going to miss my chance at doing what I had seen people do on television: shout “Happy New Year” and set off fireworks.
Finally, it happened. Our cuckoo clock “struck” (or cuckooed) midnight. I jumped up … ran outside (in my underwear) … yelled my welcome to the New Year … lit my sparkler (which took a hand full of kitchen matches) – waved it around … all the while shivering on the front porch.
After the “celebration” – I ran back inside and jumped in my warm bed. Just before I fell asleep, this thought occurred to me: “What’s so new about New Year?”
I know the calendar changes. I have turned the page on several since that “first” New Year’s celebration. I know that I have to write a different number on checks and other documents. I know that I have to start my exercises again … cut back on sweets … save more money … read my Bible more … just like every New Year.
But what really changes? What’s so “new”?
I am what’s “new” … not because I turn some page on the calendar … not because I change my diet (even if for just a few days) … not because I resolve to try harder or even do better.
I am “new” … because the “mercies of God” are “new every morning”[i].
I am “new” … because I have been “given a new birth into a living hope”[ii].
I am “new” … because I have been created in Christ a “new creation”[iii].
I am “new” … because I have been “raised to live a new life”[iv].
I am “new” … because I have been given access by a “new and living way”[v].
Therefore, in this “new year” … with God’s help:
I will “crave pure spiritual milk” like a “newborn” baby[vi].
I will “put on the new self, created to be like God”[vii].
I will be “transformed by the renewing” of my mind[viii].
I will “serve in the new way of the Spirit”[ix].
I will look “forward to a new heaven and new earth”[x].
[i] Lamentations 3
[ii] 1 Peter 1
[iii] 2 Corinthians 5
[iv] Romans 6
[v] Hebrews 10
[vi] 1 Peter 2
[vii] Ephesians 4
[viii] Romans 12
[ix] Romans 7
[x] 2 Peter 3