"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
New Year’s Eve has never felt like a very big deal in my family. We never made toasts, or went to big events, or watched the televised ball drop, and I can’t remember the last time I made a New Year’s resolution. So the purpose of ringing in the new year has always been a bit of a conundrum to me. Why celebrate going from one year to the next when life stays much the same?
This time is different for me though, because soon after the transition into 2017, I will be flying to Asia and will settle into life there. Standing on the cusp of something new, I wanted to better understand what purpose this holiday serves and find a biblical frame of reference for it.
Many use New Year’s Eve as a time of reflection of the past year - to look back on all of the tears, the trials, and the triumphs. At midnight, it becomes a time to celebrate making it through - shedding the weight of the mistakes that were made, and setting sights on how this year, now brand new, will be different and better. When I came across Philippians 3:10-14 in my ponderings, it seemed to fit New Year's to a T!
As a believer, I know even as I have been transformed in Christ, I can’t claim that my transformation is complete. It’s a good time to reflect on how far God has taken me so far – the ways that I’ve stumbled, and the ways that his grace has covered over all those mistakes. Knowing all that he has done for me, I can look forward, into the knowns and unknowns, with joy and determination. I can dedicate myself to serving God better this year, and pray He will take me even further into His kingdom, and use me to spread it to others.
Wishing you a happy and hopeful New Year!