2009 is officially here. Even with the extra second that was thrown in this year, the turning of the calendar felt instantaneous. One minute it was 2008, the next 2009. Before midnight, everything was old and tired and worn out, now everything seems young and new and full of hope. On one side, we were lamenting and reflecting on what might have been, and on the other, anything and everything now seems possible. In many ways, we are the same people we were before, but something feels different now. In some ways, evrything's changed. Maybe this is why I love New Year's Eve, because it reminds me so much of the gospel.
Here's the thing: the gospel's message is one of hope and expectation, because everything has changed. Now things can be, have the potential to be experientially different, now that everything is new. I am a new creation. It doesn't mean that I don't still struggle and wrestle with my old nature, just like we might still have '08 bills to pay or deal with things that are holdovers from "last year," but at the essence I am new, just like the year is new. And, because I am a new person in Christ, there is the real potential that my life can be radically different now.
If you think about it, much about this year will, in all likelihood, look very similar to last: holidays, seasons, sports, busy times at work, they all tend to happen on or around the same times they happened last year, and yet how I feel, react, and what I'm experiencing during all these times is what might not be the same. This is how my Christian life is so much of the time too. There are so many areas of my life that never seem to change, sins I tend to commit over and over again, trials that seem to be mine for the foreseeable future are all still with me, holdovers from my past that never go away, and yet, how I react to these, what I feel when I'm going through them, this is where the evidence turns up that God is working, changing me on the inside and causing me to become more like that person he sees when he looks at me.