I'm so thankful that New Year's Day is only a week after Christmas. You see, I love Christmas and it's always kind of sad to me when it's over. But then New Year's is only one week later and I love fresh beginnings.
January is a time to start over. It signals the completion of one year and the beginning of a fresh new one. I love finishing things. Like when I have a list of to-do's and I can scratch off each item on the list at its completion. It's a satisfying feeling. Finishing out 2010 is a satisfying thing for me. Each year comes with it's blessings and it's struggles, and each year I make it through is a small victory. Or maybe it's a large one. After all, our lives are made up of years. And our lives are not insignificant.
I have always been bothered by people who are ashamed of their age. I think it is a sign of how backward our society is. We value foolish youth and beauty over aged wisdom. But I suppose, part of the shame of being a year older comes from knowing, deep down inside, that your end is nearer. However, for those of us in Christ, this is not the case. Every year, we are not only wiser-- if the Lord permits-- but we are also one year closer to our completion. As it is right now, we are like fish out of water. Or as the writer to the Hebrew church so eloquently put it, we are "foreigners and strangers on the earth" (Heb. 11:13).
As January 1st rolls around, I not only look to the coming year, but also to the coming King. Yes, we just celebrated our King's birth last week. He is with us even until the end of the age. But He is not here physically. We cannot see His face or hear His voice. We have His words in the Scriptures, but we have to have faith that He is the One who has spoken them.
To be honest with you, I miss Him.
Sometimes I have found myself wondering, what's taking Him so long to return? I mean, really, what's up with this 2000 year delay? I used to think that the Bible didn't answer this question. But I was wrong. Check out this Scripture:
"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance," 2 Peter 3:9.
Or how about these:
"This is what is written: the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem," Luke 24:46-47.
"The good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come," Matt. 24:14.
Has the gospel been preached to all the nations yet? To our shame, it has not. We've had 2000 years to preach the gospel, and yet there are well over 2 billion people in the world who have never heard the name of Christ.
So as 2010 comes to a close and we rejoice that we are one year closer to our King's return, let us remember that 2011 arrives with fresh opportunity in its wings to hasten the Lord's coming. Our work here is not complete. He will not return until we have finished the task. Thankfully, He's patient like that.
Happy New Year!