Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Reflection on New Year

Our church, Charlotte Chapel, is right in the centre of Edinburgh. As we walked to our morning service on Hogmanay (that's New Year's Eve in Scotland!), already people were gathering in the city for the New Year Celebrations. Princes Street was closed to traffic and filled with loud speakers, crowd-control barriers and portaloos. The preparations for "Edinburgh's Hogmanay" were complete. That evening, the annual street party would be held, culminating in a spectacular (and spectacularly expensive) firework display on the stroke of midnight. Over 100,000 revellers were anticipated to fill the city centre to see in 2007.

For so many people, New Year is a big deal as they pin their hopes on things being different in 2007, and use it as an excuse to party or drown their sorrows. However, when they wake on January 1st, they face the same situations they did on December 31st. The celebration of New Year is a popular holiday, but for many it is an empty celebration, with another year bringing fresh difficulties or disappointments.

By contrast, if we are Christians we should not look to a new year as the source of our hope but to God one day "making everything new". My husband shared as much when our family gathered for lunch yesterday. He read from Revelation 21:1-5:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
In the end, a 60mph gale got the better of Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations and thousands of party-goers were bitterly disappointed as the event was cancelled. However, we can be sure that God's promises will not fail and that, whatever challenges 2007 may bring, our eternal future is secure if we trust in Christ.

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