I often find myself wanting to simply pause to catch my breath at the beginning of the New Year. For so many of us, the Advent and Christmas season can become so busy and congested that we simply want to slow down and take a break.
As one year ends and a new one begins, I like to take time to look back over the previous year. I recall the highs and the lows. I celebrate victories. I mourn over struggles and losses. I identify the places where I have seen God doing great things. I look at the things I’ve accomplished, the lessons I’ve learned. And, I remember the failures and the lessons that come along with those. I read all the lists of the Top 10 movies, music albums and singles, memorable moments, etc. that are found in all the magazines. I even come up with my own Top 10 lists.
Why do I spend time looking back? Generally, it’s to remember the great things (both good and bad) that have taken place over the year, that have shaped me, molded me, and made me into the person I am today.
When I look at the things I determine to be good and successful, I try to identify ways that I can incorporate more of these things into my life.
When I look at the things I determine to be not-so-good and failures, I try to identify ways that I can avoid repeating these mistakes.
While it is good to remember, it’s not good to get stuck in the past. We have to remember that there is a New Year that lies ahead of us. There are new goals, new opportunities, new challenges, and new joys that await us. But, we just might miss these things if we’re stuck dwelling on the past. It’s good to remember…but it’s important that we stay focused on the road that lies before us.
2 Corinthians 5:17 has always been one of my favorite verses. It says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” Isn’t that verse incredible? Doesn’t it fill you with a great sense of awe?
When we have faith in Christ, when we admit our dependence on Him, when we call on Him and acknowledge Him as our Lord and Savior, He takes us as we are…no matter what our past looks like (good, bad, ugly)…and makes us into new creations. He does not define us by our past. He defines us by who we are in this moment and by who He knows we can be.
When you look back over the past year, there may be things you wish to celebrate and things you wish to forget. But, no matter what our pasts may say about us, when we are “in Christ” we are new creations! “The old has gone, the new has come!”
Throughout this New Year, remember, you are a new creation!