Throughout Scripture, God’s people are instructed to mark the passage of time with regular memorials of His providence and provision. Seven times a year, the Jewish people observed ceremonial feasts ordained by God.
Christians also commemorate key events. We honor Jesus’ first advent, His crucifixion and resurrection, and the “last supper,” marking a new covenant in His body and blood. We gather each “Lord’s Day,” as the early disciples did — celebrating each week His validation of the good news of the Gospel.
Thankfully, God has given us seasons of life so we can appreciate the progression of our lives and the tender mercies He showers down upon us. “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” (Psalm 145:9).
The transition from one year to another presents yet another kindness of Almighty God. We are compelled to consider that we’ve lingered yet another year on the earth and realize that a brand new year — filled with unknown challenges and opportunities — lies ahead. And most of us are more than ready to turn the page.
Looking back on the past year or two, we might be tempted to give in to pessimism about the state of our nation. Indeed, the signs of decline and discouragement are all around us. Conversely, others are determined to see the world through rose-colored glasses, intent to remain oblivious to the moral and spiritual carnage growing year by year. But neither extreme is appropriate for a child of God.
As I’ve quoted before, followers of Jesus Christ are neither pessimists nor optimists. We know that God will work all things together for our good and His glory, so we can’t be pessimistic. Yet, we also understand that the world will grow darker and darker as the end draws near, so we can’t be optimistic about the trajectory of the world around us.
Instead, we are people of hope. Our hope is not some ephemeral thing based on the whim of man or the compulsions of fate. As Edward Mote wrote in 1834, Our hope is built “on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness” — His, not ours. The world will indeed grow darker, but our eyes are fixed on our Blessed Hope — Jesus Christ.
In the fullness of time, He has promised to make all things new. Soon — very soon — He will burst from the heavens, and we will be caught up to join Him in new glorified bodies. When that happens, the old will be swept aside, and we will be new — forevermore.
I can hardly wait!