Looking Back -- Looking Forward
Grace and peace to you my friends,
Some will say that New Year's is not a Christian holiday (holy day). While it is true that the New Year's holiday as we now have it does not have stictly Christian origins, I believe that it has much to commend it to people who would call themselves Christians. At New Year's, we often reflect on what has been good this past year: the joys, the blessings, the triumphs and accomplishments. Often at New Year's, we also reflect on what has not been so good in the past year: the trials, the struggles, the losses and the failures. We look ahead with hope (or try to do) for the year that is to come. And, as often as not, we resolve to do better on those things in which we fell short and to continue to do well those things where we achieved success.
Isn't this a description of the Christian life?
If we were only to do this on one day of the year, let's say New Year's Day (or New Year's Eve), I would say that the answer is a resounding, "NO!" But if we were to make this an ongoing part of our individual and communal life, then the answer is an even more resounding, "YES!" Here is why - The message of faith for Christians is always a message of resurrection, new life. Paul put it this way: "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:3-4 NRSV) We have new life in Christ. Of course, in order to receive that new life we must allow the old to die. Notice that Paul first says that we have been baptized into Christ's death. Reflecting on our failures, admitting and acknowledging them, as in confessing them to God, is part of our dying. Resolving to live in new ways, whether or not we think we can actually do it, is like the faith statement we make in our baptismal vows. And all the rest depends on grace, doesn't it? We hope to be better and to do better. With Christ beside us we shall.
New Year's Blessings and Christ's Grace Be with You,