Thursday, January 2, 2014

This "New" Year

Here we are again. According to the calendar, we are in a new year. I must admit, I haven't "celebrated" this annual event for quite some time. Maybe I'm just getting old, but staying up until midnight is not something I deal well with anymore. I like my sleep, and experience has shown me that nothing "magical" happens at the stroke of midnight on December 31st. In my "old/younger" days, New Year's Eve was mainly an excuse to "party-hearty"; that mode of recreation has certainly lost its charm.

It has got me to thinking, though. About all things "new". How in our society we are constantly reaching for them. From the latest and greatest in electronics, from clothes, to houses, to cars, to spouses. We so quickly abandon, and mark as obsolete, the outdated versions of these things, and so many more. The list is, quite literally, endless. There is this unquenchable thirst for what is new, because we are convinced that what is new must be better. I wonder sometimes if we are just dumb sheep being programmed by advertising and the media. We buy more and more "new" stuff, to the point where getting rid of the "old" stuff has become problematic. From a certain angle, this appears, at the very least, counter-productive and silly.

I know that getting older, and maybe it is just the "generation gap" having its effect on my thinking. But I am saddened, and even alarmed by things that I observe in our world. The English language seems to be devolving daily, due in large part to social media. My grandchildren are not being taught cursive writing in school; my grandson had to learn how to "write" his name when he started high school. Prior to that, he only had to write his first name, since there were no other kids who had that name. Once in high school, however, he had to start using his surname.  (This is only one example of things, or values, that have long held a place in our world that have gone by the wayside. There are too many more to explore and capture here.)

Lately I have this new affection for things old and used. I have started to make quilts. A large part of the appeal for me has been using up scraps of fabric, and I feel determined to use as little "new" fabric as possible. I prefer, instead, to seek out fabric from second-hand stores. The same for clothes, books, and anything else that I have need of.  There is this desire to shun the latest "must have", and I do find satisfaction in re-purposing that which might otherwise end up in a landfill.

Why do we crave newness? It is not an altogether bad thing to do. New life is a miracle, be it in plants, animals or humans. It is a miracle because it is God Who gives it and sustains it. We are programmed to create, and this is good. It is one of the ways that we share, albeit dimly, God's image. The problem arises when we worship the creature, and the created thing, rather than the Creator of all. We seek satisfaction where it will never be found, instead of where we were created to find it, in a relationship with Him.

Many are saying that Christ is coming soon. I wouldn't be surprised. Maybe even in my lifetime. I wonder how much worse things will get in this world before He does come. I look around and see such a dichotomy. Parts of the world are filled with people who have nothing, look forward to nothing but hunger and despair and persecution. And then there are the rest of us, happily being led by the promise of fulfillment in financial security, health and well being, fairy tale relationships, material possessions and social status. Meanwhile, the very fabric of our society is being eroded by the breakdown of the family unit. While science and technology advance, we are losing generations to warped value systems and an ever-increasing  tendency to self-fulfillment, divorced from any acknowledgement of absolute truth, let alone an Absolute God. 

Well, I didn't start out to bring a message of doom and gloom. And the good news is, there is hope. I am so thankful that, even though I may not live out my "resolutions" to perfection each day, God's mercies are new every morning. I don't have to wait until 2015 to start again. Each moment that I walk in His light, His blood cleanses me from all sin. And these promises are for anyone who will repent and believe. The world we live in is fallen and broken, but one day it will be made new, restored to the way it was meant to be. He will make all things right, and every knee will bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord. It may not take place on December 31st of any given year, but it will mark a true, glorious, everlasting change. One that will not grow old, or need to be made "new and improved." It will be eternal perfection, and I am so looking forward to that. Happy New Year.



Anonymous said...

"Lately I have this new affection for things old and used." I know why you like me:-(

Happy "old year"!

Ike said...

Since I have trouble with the English language...I'll let Jonathan Edwards speak.

"That we ought not to rest in the world and its enjoyments, but should desire heaven. We should “seek first the kingdom of God.” (Mat. 6:33) We ought above all things to desire a heavenly happiness; to be with God and dwell with Jesus Christ. Though surrounded with outward enjoyments, and settled in families with desirable friends and relations; though we have companions whose society is delightful, and children in whom we see many promising qualifications; though we live by good neighbors, and are generally beloved where known; we ought not to take our rest in these things as our portion. We should be so far from resting in them, that we should desire to leave them all, in God’s due time. We ought to possess, enjoy and use them, with no other view but readily to quit them, whenever we are called to it, and to change them willingly and cheerfully for heaven.

"God is the highest good of the reasonable creature, and the enjoyment of him is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. — To go to heaven fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows. But the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean. — Therefore it becomes us to spend this life only as a journey towards heaven, as it becomes us to make the seeking of our highest end and proper good, the whole work of our lives, to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for, or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end, and true happiness?"

Maureen said...

Ike, I thank you for the Edwards quote. How wonderful to contemplate that even the most delightful joy and contentment we are blessed with in this life is but the smallest, feeblest example of what eternity will be. And in the meantime, these good and perfect gifts are made even more precious for knowing they are from our Father in Heaven. Happy New Year to you and Carol, you old (but still useful!) fella.

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