You can call me cynical because it would be true. Nevertheless, I do not understand the celebration of the New Year. You have survived another 365 days and it’s come time to buy a new calendar so you can tick off the days of the current year until you reach the cycle again. This is necessary in the sense that time must progress for us to continue for it is space in which we exists and time that allows us to move ever forward until the end as God intended when he created light and separated the light from the darkness, creating this function of time (Genesis 1:3). Something we say flies by so fast but most likely because we spend so much time trying to kill it.
So, we celebrate the progression of time. Isn’t that something we do every time we look at the clock at work to see that only a few minutes have passed since the last time we checked to see how far we really are from the end of our shift? Do we not honor time when we go to bed at a certain time, get up at a certain time, get to appointments on time? Isn’t this the same concept of time we also curse when there are deadlines due or when we don’t get enough sleep or when you had to call in to work and you are now short the normal number of hours on your paycheck? What makes the proverbial reset of the clock for another year so special that we would take our time to celebrate it?
And what of this celebration? We want to be this new person and make all these resolutions and yet we end up forgetting them less than a month later or we cheat on them, change them or discard them as if our words mean nothing. And most people I know celebrate by not being responsible and laughing the night away as if they’re not waisting time (as my friend Jon, ‘Most Americans live as if they will never die. Tonight proves the rule. And tonight some will die.'”) I fail to see how being your old self, the same person you were all year ’round past the stroke of midnight and on to a new year is in any way supposed to usher in change. I just don’t. Personally, I don’t celebrate which makes me just as fallible and hypocritical as the people I write about. I choose to be asocial and wallow in similar miseries I’ve wallowed in years past. I’m no better than anyone.
What seems to get to me the most are the people who find it prudent to mark their new years with “resolutions”. I have not and probably will not ever have New Years resolutions for a few reasons. One, the reality is that my entire year may have sucked but that is certainly not going to change simply because my calendar now shows that it’s January 1. So, all the bad things that I do that I know need to change can be changed any time of the year and I don’t have to pick any specific day to do it. If we are going to initiate change in our lives, it is not something to be marked by occasion but only a marked choice of doing it. We’re all guilty of this. After listening to Jon Piper talk about how we must make war with our inadequacies, it has been in my mind daily to put to death what is earthly in me (Colossians 3:5). We must also remember constantly that our life is not ours and that if we make resolution to follow Jesus then we are to take up our cross daily. These are on-going, perpetual things that I think everyone forgets including me.
I guess what my main concern is not so much what you are doing but where your heart is. Tonight may be a night of change for some but for most it’s just an excuse. An excuse to be proud of all these great resolutions that are being made, these grand plans that are being set in motion. It all seems like chasing the wind when we find no resolution. I’ve found that time is not a friend in this capacity. For the things which we should be resolving to do are things we are to be doing all the time and should transcend the passing of time for they are things which mark living out for eternity.