Jesus makes all things new.
That’s how the cliché goes. Yet perhaps this should speak to us more now than it has. All across multiple social media platforms I’m seeing people complain about how “horrible” the year 2016 was. My year was pretty great, yet it is easy to infer these people are claiming the year to be horrible because of the many celebrity deaths this year. That is the problem with celebrity worship. When a celebrity dies, suddenly flocks of people are depressed as if a family member died. There are multiple posts of “RIP” with a picture of the individual’s favourite actor or actress, even if they were unbelievers, in which case unbelievers cannot rest in peace. I’m not particularly happy about some celebrity deaths, but I’m not going to blame it on a year as if it’s a sentient being targeting celebrities; that’s ridiculous superstition. I can think of one reason why 2016 was a good year: you’re still alive. “Well, some people aren’t alive,” you might say, and you’d be right. Not only have celebrities died this year, but people we never knew existed died this year as well. Celebrities are going to continue dying in 2017, 2018, 2019, and so on, as will people we never heard of. As a future pastor, all death is equally tragic to me. You don’t have to be a celebrity in order for your death to matter or be sad. All death is especially tragic if a person dies without knowing Christ. I expect some backlash for saying all this because it’s an unpopular opinion, but the purpose of my blog is not to suit your common pop culture beliefs. I call out things as they are. If anything, take this as food for thought.
Anyway, enough of my rant. My point is: just because 2016 was supposedly so “bad” doesn’t mean 2017 is going to automatically be great. That’s really up to you, not a number. You want a fresh start? Don’t use the superstition of a new year to “start over” and then spiral into inevitable failure because of your high expectations. Christ makes all things new. A new year doesn’t make a new beginning just because it’s a new year; that’s superstition. Jesus, however, wipes your sins away and enables you to start life anew in baptism (Romans 6). If you put your faith in yourself, you’ll always fall short of your own expectations. If you put your faith in Christ, you will find boundless mercy as God always fulfils His promises. The people who say the new year will be fantastic are the same people who complain about how horrible the year was when it ends. This is because they keep putting faith in their own works rather than Christ, who separates our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Only Christ can give you the new beginning you desire. If you trust in yourself, you will face constant disappointment.
There is going to be a new year because Christ allows it; He is the one who makes it a new year. The new year 2017 is not going to be much different than 2016 was. Celebrities are still going to die, people we don’t know are still going to die, there are still going to be tragedies, and unforeseen bad things will continue to happen to you as well. Without Christ, a person has no one to turn back on when horrible things happen. Christ, however, gives us rest. “Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Even with Christ, things will not always be easy. But if you’re familiar with Psalm 23, it says God is with us even while we walk through the valley of the shadow of death (v. 4). The psalmist didn’t say God prevents him from walking that path, but rather He is with him as he walks through the valley of death. If God is with us in death and brings us through it, certainly He is with us when we walk through other suffering.
In this new year, trust in Christ, who makes all things new.