Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

happy new year

We’re almost two weeks into the new year. In many ways, there’s nothing new about it, other than changing the year when we write the date. (Anyone beside me becoming adept at converting a seven into an eight?)

If 2018 is feeling more like “same old, same old,” why all the hype about a new year? After all, don’t we turn the calendar page every month? And if you use a 24-month paper calendar, you can wait yet another year before buying a new one. That is, if you even use paper. Digital calendars and date books just keep adding the next month. A new year is not a concern for your digital organizer.

So what’s the big deal, just because the earth has completed another rotation around the sun?

I wonder if the new year hype—with its focus on a clean slate and resolutions to become better people—is related to something else.

There’s an innate longing in the human spirit that craves a do-over. Failures often haunt us. We find ourselves wishing for a way to rewind the tape of our lives and erase our past mistakes. We’re eager to eliminate today’s consequences caused by yesterday’s errors.

However, no matter how many new years we celebrate, we can’t change the past. And that past often limits our future. Still, our future doesn’t have to be chained to our past.

God offers what the human spirit craves. Forgiveness. Cleansing. A new start.

That’s the message of the Christian life. Faith in what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross means we’re no longer shackled to past sins. We are given the gift of a clean slate—not just on January first, but every day.

If you’ve tried—and failed—to wipe away your own past sins and mistakes, come to the One who has already done it for you. There’s only one way to be freed from our failures.

Christ took your failures and mine onto Himself. He paid our penalty so that we would not have to. He offers the freedom we crave and the future we desire. Jesus is the One who restores us to our heavenly Father. He gives us the gift of His Spirit so that we’re never again have to struggle in this life alone. It’s His Spirit who gives us the strength to say no to sin and its resulting shame and regrets.

When you’re in a relationship with the God who said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5 NIV), every day is a fresh start. And that beats any new year’s celebration.

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