Happy New Year!
One of the reasons I think we like the idea of a “new year” is… it’s a do-over. A massive re-set. It feels like a chance to wipe the slate clean and start over… new exercise habits, new eating habits, new relational commitments, new financial goals. (After you pay off those credit cards from your Christmas binge… Financial Peace University is waiting for you! Just saying…)
Unfortunately, this kind of fresh start depends entirely upon our hard work, our effort, our discipline. And, of course, it was precisely our lack of discipline that got us fat or indebted or sideways with those we love the most… in the first place. It’s kind of a nasty cycle, isn’t it?
Fortunately, the great and lingering gift of Christmas is the gift of a fresh start that depends entirely on God, not on ourselves. The Bible calls it rebirth. Nicodemus, in John chapter 3, could hardly get his well-trained religious brain around the idea that an adult could be reborn. But Jesus said that it was not only possible… it was essential. Unlike every other religion in the world, our fresh start is dependent upon what God has done for us not upon what we have done for God.
The symbol of that rebirth is baptism. Whether we received baptism as a baby or as an adult, it was something done to us and for us. No one ever baptizes himself! It is a vivid reminder, as we start a new year, of our new life in Jesus.
The first Sunday of the new year is our renewal of baptismal vows. I look forward to sharing that experience with you… as we celebrate our fresh start in Christ! And don’t be surprised if you find some very festive decorations awaiting you that morning!
Happy New Year.
P.S. Another great way to start your new year would be to finally take the plunge and join your church. Our “All In” membership class begins Sunday, January 5, after second service and continues through the month of January. Join us! It’s a great church family.