by Alan Bailey
This time of the year makes us think about change. Is it to be a new house, job or a new place to study? For many, there is a desperate effort to make a new home in Australia.
As Christmas approaches we see it as a deadline for getting certain things done. Then we promise ourselves that ‘after Christmas…’ we will do this and that. It seems like a new beginning, especially seeing that the New Year is so soon upon us. We quietly hope that things may turn out better for us as we face some new circumstance. Perhaps luck may smile upon us for a change!
OUT WITH THE OLD
Maybe the past holds some good memories, but it can appear as something to escape if at all possible. Behind us are bad relationships, bad debts, old surroundings and some events best forgotten. Such memories bring inward pain as we go over them in our minds. We feel that with certain people out of our hair and with a determination on our part not to make the same mistakes again, the new will be better.
It is amazing how the new can be so much like the old. Yes, certain things are very different but painfully familiar scenes are showing up. We have taken ourselves with all our hang-ups and tendencies into the new situation. The scenes once so fresh are now spotted and streaked with all the old habits, the arguments and the hassles of life. Does this mean we need yet another beginning?
This can be the story of our lives as we make one effort after another to try and beat the problems that dog us. It sure is better to keep going with determination rather than to collapse under the strain, but isn’t there an answer that works—that delivers the goods?
NOT NEW ENOUGH
A New Year, new resolves and new circumstances are not new enough. The newness must go deep, right into our own natures, otherwise the old life, the old ways prevail. A revolution which begins in the heart and works outwardly can transform a life. No, not magically remove the entire struggle, but bring about new attitudes, a new power to cope and new resources to draw upon. But how can such a thing as this happen?
It appears that most people do not realise that God is able to implant in us a new dynamic that lasts. It is actually the life of Christ himself—His risen life, a life that conquered death itself. When? It happens when we reach the end of ourselves and cry out to him for a new beginning. God is not about patching up and papering over. He is about bringing a new creation into being. That is the reason why Christ came. Yes, Christmas speaks of the new beginning that works.
There is a huge array of people who have experienced this new life. Criminals, prostitutes, losers, ordinary people, celebrities, the simple and the clever, people of all colours and creeds. The door is open right now for any who feel the futility of their self-oriented and sinful lives. And the promise remains: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5, verse 17).