New Year, New Hope

A new year is once again upon us! Collectively as a nation, and perhaps even as a world people begin to look back over the past year; what went well, what would we have changed? What do we wish we could simply forget? As 2016 ended we remembered a year of joys and sorrows, triumphs and defeats, we looked back on a year of memories.

However if you are like most people you are not only looking back on the past year. At the New Year, more than any other time we also look forward. We look at the year ahead of us and we ponder what we can do to make 2017 even better than 2016. How we can produce a world with all the joys of the past year with none of the sorrows, all the triumphs without any of the defeats. We look forward to the New Year with hope and a sense of purpose and drive. With the New Year we receive a fresh start. It is as if the earth has hit the reset button and we get to try one more time to make the year a perfect one. The New Year brings in hope.

This sense of New Year hope is not unlike the hope we have as Christians. Just as we get the sense of a fresh start, a blank slate, a do over at the New Year we receive our true fresh start through Christ alone. In Jesus we are given a “divine restart”. We come to Christ and we see our past, we see everything that we have done; we see the good in our lives, but we also see the bad. We witness our triumphs and our joys, but also our sorrows and defeats. We see everything in our past life and lay it at the foot of the cross, and when we do something amazing happens. Jesus tells us “well done”; he is joyful with us in all the good in our lives, he shares in our triumphs and joys. When he looks upon our shortcomings we hear no words of condemnation, rather we hear simply, “I forgive you, now go out and try again.” With Jesus we are given a new start, we are given the opportunity to go back into the world and do our best to make ourselves and the world around us perfect, and when we fail (which we always will) we simply return to Christ, return to the cross and once again receive forgiveness and a fresh start.

In Jesus we receive the hope of a fresh slate, we receive the energy and the resolve to go back out into the world and try our best always knowing that Jesus is ready to give us another fresh start the moment we need it. We do not need to wait a whole year to receive our fresh start; Jesus will press the divine reset button for us every week, every day, every hour.

So begin 2017 with hope, hope of a New Year, a blank slate, a fresh start. Begin the New Year with Christ.

Amen.

Written By: Vicar Jacob Berlinski