So who writes a message in the final days of November and announces “Another New Year!” as the title??? Well, it has to be someone who’s totally lost their mental marbles or someone using a different calendar. This morning I’ll explain why today is New Year’s Day — AND why you should care.
You may have read my “new year” title and thought to yourself, “The Bishop’s off his rocker! Why would he be wishing someone a Happy New Year in NOVEMBER???”
It is because there are more calendars than just our standard Gregorian one. That calendar, of course, begins on January 1. The Jewish calendar begins on Rosh Hashanah, which occurs in the August or September timeframe. Calculating New Year’s Day on the traditional Chinese calendar, still used by a staggering 2 billion people, is a complex process; so the date of Chinese New Year falls on a different day each year . But the Church also has a calendar. It begins with Advent, the period of preparation for our celebration of Christ’s birth. The season of Advent begins today, and with it the new Church year. So, Happy New Year !!
Today’s verse says BEHOLD, I AM MAKING ALL THINGS NEW.
There’s a striking scene in Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ” where Jesus’ mother rushes in to comfort Him after Jesus falls under the crushing weight of His cross. His fall is painful and graphic. As He struggles to His feet, Jesus lovingly holds Mary’s face in His hand and says, “See, Mother, I am making all things new.” The problem, of course, is that it appears that anything BUT that is what’s occurring. Yet this is precisely what Jesus is doing. He is opening the way for our birth into an inconceivable newness of life. And birth, as anyone who has witnessed it knows full well, is a bloody process.
Here’s the point – we all need a new life. We’ve well and properly mucked up the old one.
We all face battles in our lives. YOU know the battles you’re facing. You know with more excruciating detail than anyone what these battles have cost you. You, like me, have had painful and graphic falls, and memories of the times we’ve fallen and failed can be haunting. The precise nature of the sin or sins that have held control in your life does not matter. Whether you’ve battled substance addictions, sexual perversions, uncontrollable violent anger, or any other sin — you know it and its pain all too well.
Hidden within your heart and memories are likely failures known only to you. Painful, vile and embarrassing falls from our own attempts at mastery over life-controlling sin. You and I – we are the most poignant illustration I could give. We all need a new life.
Sin is very much akin to the siege of a city. The siege intends to cut off access to all resources, and destroy its enemy bit by bit until all will to resist has been overcome. Surrender leads to total mastery, and most often rapid death. But in battle after battle throughout history, stories of siege end with the arrival of reinforcements. The tide turns as the new army enters the scene. Those who appeared to have victory in hand are suddenly decimated and destroyed by an overwhelming victory. Freedom replaces fear.
So here’s my question …. What would OVERWHELMING VICTORY look like in your life?
Can you picture what your life would look like if the sin that you battle with WASN’T in control? Pause here for a moment and ponder that, if you will. Just consider what freedom and peace you’d have if the siege was lifted. Savor the thought. Picture FREEDOM. Picture OVERWHELMING VICTORY.
I have been delivered from life-controlling sins too numerous and disgusting to begin to list here. Like Saint Francis, I can say, “I have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through anyone.” God now uses that which the enemy intended for my destruction as a flag of victory that opens the doors for people still under siege.
What would overwhelming victory look like in YOUR life?
Today is the first day of the church year. It is the perfect time to recall that Christ CAME, that Christ is NOW among us by His Spirit, and that Christ WILL RETURN in glory and victory. Advent is the proclamation that HE MAKES ALL THINGS NEW.
Wouldn’t you like it to be a year of OVERWHELMING VICTORY for you? It can be, because God’s promise is as alive as He is. His power is not diminished.
Many stories of siege end with the arrival of reinforcements. The tide turns as the new army enters the scene. Christ can and does bring OVERWHELMING VICTORY into the lives of those who call upon him. Christ’s power DOES change lives. He does MAKE ALL THINGS NEW.
I am a living testimony, and you can be as well.
I’ve got great news for you – the reinforcements you’ve needed have arrived. BEHOLD, HE IS MAKING ALL THINGS NEW.
Happy New Year!