It’s a new year. It’s a new year. New, new, new, new. Yes, around this time of year we hear a lot about new things and resolutions. We tell ourselves that we will live in new ways. We hope that during the year new opportunities might present themselves for our benefit. We hope that our world might even turn over a new leaf or two that would offer to its inhabitants a reason for hope.
But yet the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us: What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)This word is not meant to simply drive hope out of us for the New Year but it is to remind us that in many ways this year will be like the last and probably a lot like the next as well. Oh there may be ups or downs in one of our lives in comparison to another, but in the end much will remain the same.
We will live in families. We will interact with our communities. We will gather with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We will try really hard to do more things the way we think they should be done and yet upon reflection we will recognize that we have failed in so many respects even living up to our own standards, let alone God’s standards.
And so while all the world is shouting out, “New, new, new,” we in the church will be content with what is old.We will confess our sins. We will hear of Jesus and receive His salvation in Word and Sacrament. We will rejoice to be raised up by the Spirit to serve Christ.We will live in hope of a day when there actually will be something new, a brand-new heaven and earth in which we shall dwell in perfect innocence, righteousness, and blessedness with Christ forever.If there are other new things that bring us joy, we will receive them with joy from our Father, but our contentment will rest on the things we have blessedly known for some time.
Will there be new activities or programs or groups created here at church in the next year? Who knows? Perhaps. But the basic activities that sustain us through life will continue. We will study the Word. We will gather for worship. We will encourage one another.Will there be new members in the church in the New Year? Who knows? Perhaps. But whoever gathers here will have the opportunity to hear of Jesus and His saving life, death, and resurrection.Will this world turn over a new leaf to become something better than it is today? Who knows? Perhaps. But we will place our hope in a world outside of this one.
There is nothing new under the sun. Thankfully, the Son of God came down beneath the sun in order that He might save us. We have celebrated His birth and now we continue to reflect upon His life. A lot of what we will hear will seem to us rather old. We have heard it before. But it is just the kind of old we need.
Come to Holy Cross – Jesus is here – for you!
Your Servant in Christ,
Pastor Jeffrey Stone
Special thanks to Pastor Philip Hoppe for assistance with this article
Proverbs3 Verses 5 to 6.  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us... Hebrews 12:1