2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
There are certain things that go together. Marshmallows were made for hot chocolate. Lights and decorations on a simple pine tree bring good cheer. And year end greetings of Merry Christmas are always followed by the hope of a Happy New Year! When it comes to spiritual things the Christmas message of Jesus’ birth and salvation found in Him are directly trailed by the happy proclamation of a new beginning. There is nothing more hopeful than that!
As the year rounds to a close, we think of making a new start. This past year, with all of its happy and sad moments, finds a place of closure. It is now time to strike out with new goals, aspirations, and dreams. Yet even when we make a conscious decision to effect change, we often just can’t make it happen on our own. It’s hard to break old habits and nearly impossible to change some circumstances. The baggage of the previous year weighs heavy on our shoulders and makes moving forward difficult.
But this conundrum finds an answer in Jesus. The birth of God’s Son that we celebrate at the end of every year is more than just a historic moment to remember. This all-important birthday launched God’s plan for our new beginning.
Those who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord are saved from the dominion of darkness that has enslaved us since the beginning of time. It brings us into the Kingdom of God where burdens are lifted and everything is made fresh and new. We become new creatures. The old things pass away and new things come.
First, Jesus lifts the burden of sin. At the cross of Christ we find forgiveness. God removes our sin as far as the east is from the west. While Satan may still confront us with the past, we now have an answer for his accusations. There is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ because we have received the Spirit of life and have been set free from the law of sin and death.
Second, we have a new relationship. Those whom the Spirit of God leads are sons and daughters of God. The Spirit testifies to us that we are in God’s family and we have the privilege of calling God our Father. As children we also become heirs of all that He has at His disposal, which is everything in heaven and earth.
Next, we have new desires. These longings are given to us and fulfilled by God Himself. No longer do we want to live the way we once did, fulfilling the natural desires of our sinful minds and hearts. We now have a fresh outlook and the power to make the right decisions as we rely on God to strengthen us. And when we sin we have an advocate with the Father in Jesus Christ who intercedes on our behalf.
We also receive a new purpose. Instead of living for ourselves, our greatest joy is serving God. He invites us to participate in His work on earth and calls us to present ourselves as living sacrifices. He chose us and appointed us to bear fruit for Him and He provides every spiritual blessing needed for our success.
I must also mention our new future. Despite the trials and tribulations we experience here on earth, we know that we have the victory. Those who persevere will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. There will no longer be any death, mourning, crying, or pain because the old world will pass away and we will live in heaven with the Lord for eternity.
Marshmallows and hot chocolate, lights and pine trees – certain things go together. But the best is that in Christ we can truly receive a new start! So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my friends. May this coming year truly be one of fresh beginnings!
Sandra Sheridan is a midwest wife and mother of five. She shares her letters to her children with our readers. Visit her at www.VersesFromMama.com.