As we read the Christmas cards and the letters that we received from our friends, there was an almost constant refrain that people wanted to forget the year 2020. Some of those cards let us know that a close friend had died, but the family could not invite us to the funeral service because only a few people were allowed to participate. We listened to scientists, but many of us were not willing to do what they asked us to do. We wanted to overcome the difficulties caused by this disease, but we also wanted our individual and community liberties. We rejoiced in the fact that a vaccine was discovered, but some people were not sure that they were willing to take it.
The year 2020 is gone and it will not come again. Yet in this year that will always be remembered as the pandemic year, there were children who were born, there were couples that fell in love or got married, there were promotions and new jobs, and there were new friendships and bonds that grew stronger. We have seen the resiliency, perseverance, and heroism of the human race this year. Despite these good things, we are eager to experience a new year.
The eternal God is in this exact business of making new things. In 2 Corinthians we read, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. The old things have gone away, behold God is making everything new.” The birth of the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s declaration to humanity that he wants to make everything new. Bruce Metzger was a legendary and humble professor of the New Testament. He would say at the end of his course on the Epistles of Paul that if we forgot everything that he taught us, we should remember this simple expression “in Christ.” There will be people who will experience this newness for the first time. 2021 will be the year that they experience the transformation that Jesus Christ brings in a person’s life.
The Christian concept of time is linear. It starts in Genesis with God creating a new, good world and ends in a cataclysmic conclusion that we can call The Apocalypse. It is in Revelation, the book of the apocalypse, that we hear God saying, “Behold I am making everything new.” John, the author of the book, wrote that he has seen a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth have gone away.
These past few months, I have been listening to a lot of Romanians in various spheres of influence and I listened to an interview with one of the few Romanians who has ever been admitted to a stratospherically elite group. The first of these groups is known as the Club of Rome, and it was formed in 1986. A select hundred people are invited to join this group of elite politicians, economists, and businesspeople who meet to think about and discuss the future of the world. A second elite group is known as Davos, and consists of members of the World Economic Forum who meet each year in Davos, Switzerland. WEF Chair Claude Schwab launched The Great Reset this year to discuss how the world can be reset socially, politically, and economically in view of this year’s pandemic and the fact that the earth’s resources are getting scarce. People in both groups tell us that we cannot proceed as we have in the past; we need hundreds, if not thousands, of new ideas to keep this problem-ridden terra from destruction. Individuals outside of these groups have examined the papers and positions of the Great Reset. Some claim that they are ushering in a time when “you will own nothing, and you will be happy” while other people argue that these are strictly papers discussed by the richest people of the world and will not actually become reality.
Sometimes the things being discussed and implemented in places like the Club of Rome or Davos seem so impossible and distant that ordinary folk feel sidelined or marginalized. While we have not been invited to join the Club of Rome or the Davos group, we can make something new because we are made in the image and the likeness of God. In this new year, continue to do the good things you are already doing and think of new things you can do for yourself, for your family, and for your community. By doing this, you become a part of Jeremiah’s verse in Lamentations 3:22-23—the mercies of the Lord are new every morning and you are working with God to make this newness come to life.