“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the Year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
Welcome to a New Year! Perhaps you are looking for a fresh start, turning over a new leaf, or maybe beginning a new chapter or phase of life. No matter how you look at it, the New Year gives everyone a sense of resetting the clock, of starting over…a pre-programed “do over.” But isn’t it funny, that we were just a few hours, days, weeks away from the end of the year? Just trying to finish strong (or maybe limping to the finish line), drawing things to a close, putting the finishing touches on the latest chapter, closing out the books on a another year.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems nothing has really ended or begun…things just seem to keep on going as they always have (kind of like the Energizer Bunny). Another year runs right into the next, just like it did the year before that (and the year before that). But isn’t it interesting that we somehow desire, even crave, some sort of beginning and ending to things? We’re almost hard-wired with the need to stop and start, to turn the computer off and reboot.
However, when I look at God’s Word, I am reminded that we were not initially created with this need. We were created with an eternal, never-ending, Energizer Bunny kind of life! Sin brought the stop in our lives of death…the need for a reboot, a fresh start, a “do over.” That’s why Jesus said in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven a person must be “born again.” There must be an end (death) to the old life and a start (rebirth) that brings about a new life. And when we have new life in Jesus, it is not just new life in the old way, it is new life in a new way…it is eternal life! A never-ending, Energizer Bunny life that will never spoil, perish or fade…it will go on here until our physical body expires, but our new life will continue even when the final chapter of this book seems to have come to a close.
Maybe that’s why this year, if you are in Jesus Christ, it seems to me like there really is no need for a “do over.” Because in Jesus Christ, our lives are a never ending “do over.” They are an ever present reality of new life in a new way, every day. May the Lord make His new life an ever-present reality in our lives, so that there is no stop or start to His love, mercy, peace, hope and grace. May there be a relentless, unbroken, never ending abundance of His presence and power. And may this year and every year be the Year of the Lord’s favor upon us. Amen.