It's so tempting. A new year, all change. New challenges, forget the old, bury the past. Shiny new gadgets to warm your heart.
However, there is a problem. What we so often wish to forget about the past are the very things we should persevere with, the things that need fixing or that little extra bit of effort to get right.
If you haven't been overly anxious about, or distracted by the fiscal cliff, then you may remember an incident in Connecticut in mid December (I'll blog about that separately). It would be wonderful to wake up in 2013 and say it was all a nightmare.
In North Korea, there will not likely be a change in attitude toward Christians; they will still be imprisoned in hard-labour camps where they will most likely meet their deaths. The message for reaching out and helping is repeated year after year. Anyone for some compassion-fatigue? Remember Syria, or what's left of it?
And to cap it off: social ills are not miraculously cured by some turkey and woefully bad Christmas jingles.
Pretty morbid stuff for a new year! post. Some would say it it defeatist, negative and unhelpful.
In the past I would often place new year ahead of Christmas, and sometimes even Easter, in terms of value and importance. New Year was where the slate was truly washed clean. Sure, somethings need to be buried and forgotten, other things need to be forgiven, then buried and forgotten. And then there are the issues which would be all to easy to sweep under the 2012 rug, but would be best dealt with, however long it takes.
Don't be drawn in by the false dawn of a new year. Persevere in sorting out problems, don't fill your time with new year's resolutions that are merely a bad cover up for hurts and wounds from 2012 or before. Resolutions that require a clean slate, to create a perfect record, a perfect score. Find escape through grace and mercy from these.
Newness is great. Fresh changes are invigorating. I can't determine for anyone other than myself what 'thing' needs to be left, abandoned in the past, or what 'thing' needs to be taken forward and faced. Knowing the difference is where wisdom starts.
Let this new year be a realistic facing of hurt and pain. Admit what these things are and then look at them in the light of how Jesus is making all things new.