There is something natural and satisfying about a new beginning, a fresh start, a blank canvas. Even my (nearly) two-year-old Ellie will tell me to “turn page!” whenever she sits down to draw. At the dawn of a new year, we have a similar opportunity to seek newness and freshness in our ways of being, perhaps not to forget what has gone before—some things in 2020 we will never forget—but to allow hope and re-creation to have the first word.
If there is anything scary about beginning something new, it is likely tied to what has happened before, when mistakes were made, or things were not as they should be. In any case, even new things lose their shine before long.
In spiritual terms however (and by that I mean very real terms), Christians know a newness that does not fade, a newness that needs no fixing from one year to the next. It is a newness shared by every believer who, the Bible tells us, is a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17).
Christian renewal means that we are meant to “put off” the old, unbelieving self, and consciously “put on” that new self that is already ours in Christ (Eph 4:20-24). New Year’s resolutions may help in this, but most vital is to remember—in 2021 as ever—you belong to Christ, and you have already been made new in Him. This being the case, there is every reason to live into this new self, to welcome it, and receive it gratefully by making godly choices.
Whether you are excited, scared, or ambivalent about 2021, I pray that you would rest in the knowledge that your new life in Christ has already begun—and, as Paul writes elsewhere in Ephesians, “this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).
By Joshua Irving (Student Pastor)