Another year draws to a close and a brand new one beckons.
If 2019 was a particularly challenging year for you, you may be quite glad to see it go. But even if it was a brilliant and joyful period for you, it is nevertheless drawing to a conclusion.
Endings are good for us - they point us towards what is next, towards the new.
May you have the courage to leave the past behind and to look forward with hope in Christ to the future.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Philippians 3:12–16 (NIV)
A new year can seem like a fresh beginning, rather like a brand new, clean exercise book at the start of school. No mistakes (yet) to haunt us. No corrections to remind us of our limitations and shortcomings.
Christians have actually already been granted the only fresh start that really matters:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17–21 (NIV)
As you begin 2020, may you have a fresh sense of what it means to be a new creation in Christ. And may the days ahead be full of the joy of the forgiven, those who know that their sins are no longer counted against them.