We all shouted out the numbers as they flashed across the TV. Our family, gathered around, counting down with Mariah and the gang as they stood in a historically cold Times Square as the ball dropped. All night we had waited for this moment, when for a millisecond, we’d get to see the date change and we could say “goodbye 2017” and “hello 2018.” Now it had happened, and I just felt...
Well, I felt exactly the same, to be honest. Maybe a little more grateful that now I could go to bed. One of my kids, full of enthusiasm at being able to stay up this late an hour earlier, was now curled up on a chair fast asleep. Another one fell asleep on the concrete floor in the basement, and two were already in bed.
Was this how Jesus felt when he went to go pray in the garden and his whole crew fell asleep, leaving him alone? (Matthew 26) I guess that was probably a little more intense.
The New Year offers us an opportunity to reflect on what has occurred in the past year, for good or bad, and what we hope to accomplish in the coming year. But there’s something sinister about it. Chris alluded to it last week in the weekly update. Kendall noticed it in his sermon on Psalm 16 this past Sunday. We’ll look at it again this coming week in Ecclesiastes 1.
If you take a step back and actually consider the change of date, or back out and consider the change of years, or seasons, or whatever, you realize...it just keeps on going. 2016 became 2017. 2017 became 2018. And unless Jesus comes, 2018 is going to become 2019. On, and on, and on, and we celebrate milliseconds and then they’re gone and we’re left wondering, what did we just accomplish?
Maybe there’s a better question: what did God accomplish? Maybe that sounds like cheesy, church-cliché. But it’s actually one of the fundamental ways that God describes himself: unmoving, unchanging, steadfast, and faithful. They are all pointing towards the same thing. The God that created the universe sustains it and keeps it in motion. It’s in the on-and-on pattern of the universe that we see God’s power and his handiwork, making the sun rise and set every day.
We can get fixated on the fact that January 1st feels exactly like December 31st, and get depressed. Or we can consider that God’s going to do it again. Every day, new mercies. Every year, consistency. Faithfulness. God guiding us and protecting us, even in the everyday, same as yesterday, probably the same as tomorrow, moments of our lives.
That’s something to celebrate in 2018.