Out with the Old, In with the New!
Written By: Chris Mace
“Out with the old, in with the new” is a grand but totally impractical New Year’s expectation! Celebratory gatherings, festive toasts, fireworks, and a few seconds of Auld Lang Syne somehow allow a brief reprieve from the baggage and sadness of the year now gone, nostalgia for the good times, and a hopeful anticipation for the year ahead.
Unfortunately, the slate is not wiped clean at the stroke of midnight on December 31st after the “ball” drops in Times Square. Some memories are wonderfully spirit lifting. Others haunt us, hold us hostage, and force us into the realities of living with injustices, sufferings, and challenges experienced by broken people in a broken world. Raising a nostalgic glass to the past and flipping the calendar to time travel into a different year or century does not erase lingering hurt, grief, guilt, shame, difficulties, or destructive behaviors and their consequences. Rarely do we or our situations change over night by a simple resolve that things will be different.
Like wandering Pilgrim, the protagonist in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, we seek relief from the weight of our doubt, anger, lousy attitudes, regrets , grudges, unruly natures, and ethical and moral breaches. Pilgrim received well intended but ineffective advice from many strange characters including Mr. Worldly Wiseman, Morality, Goodwill, and Psychology. Only after discovering a narrow path leading to a hill with a cross and an empty tomb beyond did Pilgrim’s burdens roll away.
There is comfort, security, hope, meaning, purpose and new values in discovering Christ. As our Redeemer, as the one who paid the penalty for our sins, he implores and promises us: “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Christ unburdens troubled, weak spirits. If /when we respond to his invitation, we, like Pilgrim, can know the release of forgiveness and freedom from harmful desires, controlling sins, condemnation, and fear of death and may joyfully sing the little children’s chorus: “Rolled away, rolled away, rolled away, Every burden of my heart rolled away.” God’s memory is so unlike ours. He never fails to keep His promises but “forgets” our “transgressions” and removes them “As far as the East is from the West.”
Although a “New Year” never really offers us a totally fresh start, life perspectives change when Christ is brought into our lives. It is truly “Out with the Old, in with the New” as he redeems and restores.