New Year's Eve; a time for reflection and anticipation. For many, the end of 2016 cannot come too soon. Illness, death, tragedy in one form or another has been the experience of many of my friends and of countless others across the nation and world. We have come through a year of political campaigning that has been divisive, to say the least. The thought of a new administrations fills some with great anticipation, and others with dread so raw that they were in tears and wondering how they can possibly live in a country that would elect such a person to the highest office in the land. Of course, conservatives have had to deal with similar realities for the past eight years. I suspect we will manage to live through it all.
For most of us, that which causes us to remember 2016 is more personal; tragedy or joy, death or birth. It is strange to me that we place so much emphasis on the page on a calendar. 2017 will come, but it won't magically transform our human condition. People's struggles and triumphs will remain very much the same as they were before the stroke of midnight. The new year is a human construct. The Chinese celebrate it at a different time than we, as do the Jewish peoples and anyone living in Australia and New Zealand.
The turning of the calendar's page does however, present us with opportunity. We see the new year as a clean slate, even if it is not, ready for us to write a new future. A new future is only possible however, if we make changes in the habits and choices that have brought us to where we are at the moment. Those changes and choices are difficult to make so long as we remain shackled to the baggage our past choices have brought us. Which is why the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so significant. In Christ, God wipes out the past, freeing us for a new and better future. It's called forgiveness, and it is waiting for us to receive it and live in it. When we do, a happy new year becomes a real possibility, no matter what that year brings. As one who is forgiven to others who are forgiven and need to know it, Happy New Year! Believe, receive, and be blessed!