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home : religion : religion January 19, 2019

12/30/2018 12:16:00 AM
Something New
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

Someone recently asked me “Why do we celebrate the New Year? It’s just going to be the same old thing over and over again. Why does it matter?” I imagine if Solomon was here today he might ask that question because he felt the same way as we see in this passage:

Ecclesiastes 1:3-10
3 What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? 4 A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. 6 The wind blows to the south, and goes round to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. 7 All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. 8 All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already, in the ages before us.

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Yes, here we go again. The calendar of life starts over and we begin a new round of the same seasons in church, at work, at school, and at home with the same holidays, vacations, birthdays, sports seasons, retail seasons, and so on. As Solomon says “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.” If we are about to do the same things we did last year – what are we celebrating on New Year’s Eve as the ball drops in Times Square and the calendar changes to 2019?

People of faith have good reasons to celebrate the New Year. Why? Because we know that while life may seem the same, our hope is that we are promised newness of life in the spirit every day.

2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.

It may be the same old thing but when we are alive in Christ, we do not stay the same. The spirit of the Lord is alive, dynamic, and expansive. It compels us to grow spiritually every day, showing us new facets of possibility in familiar experiences. It may be the same series of activities and events, but as God’s people we look for ways to grow and be more like Christ in them.

Even as the calendar of life repeats itself and gives the impression that there is nothing new under the sun, in reality this is not true. The one thing we know that will never change is the fact that life is always changing because people, place, and things do not stay the same. We may be trying to do the same general things together but for God’s people how we do them changes over time. People of faith know how to let God do something new in Christ in the New Year and every day.

Rev. Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church

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