It’s a new year.
It’s a new decade (well, it’s technically not a new decade; Google it to confirm).
It’s hard to believe we’ve been in the new century and millennium for 20 years now.
With it turning to 2020, lots of new year’s resolutions are on the horizon.
Resolutions aren’t bad. I’ve made them before. Much less now than earlier days. But a new calendar year can mean many new opportunities with much excitement.
Or it could mean more of the same, even dire our circumstances. We simply do not know.
I will say this. With the calendar new year upon us, there are going to be many preachers claiming: “2020 is going to be your year.” Or, even more, we may encounter the statement: “the 2020s are going to be your decade.”
I’m sure a Google or Twitter search will yield plenty.
But consider this.
The new year for God’s people began one month ago – officially December 1st this year. And the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany that begin the church’s year are centered in Christ, rather than me.
The goal of the church’s new year is not about “my best life now,” but instead how Christ might be honored, and how he might be at work in and through his people by the power of the Spirit of God.
My goal isn’t to put a damper on a new calendar year. We are 20 years into this century! And, again, I know very well new year’s bring new opportunities – even for me (well, mine begins February 1st).
Nor is my purpose to communicate that God doesn’t care about individual people. Of course he does!
But to the preacher preparing to predict a vaguely prosperous new year or to the pastor desiring to craft a spectacular new year’s message for this coming Sunday, perhaps we could consider how we have already entered a new year, one that beckons for Christ to come (Advent season), one that celebrates that he has come (Christmas season), and one that remembers who he is, what he said and what he did (Epiphany season).
Here is to a new year, one marking the year 2020.
But here is to a new year, one that has already been in cycle a few weeks now. That is the rhythm that I’m drawn to most.
Hi Scott – Thanks for your New Year thoughts 🙂 and your desire to pursue the truth of The Word.
Re. preachers preparing a “2020 is going to be your best year yet!” message for their congregations – I must confess I can’t really hear that kind of message any longer without feeling angry. I so desperately want to see the family of God vomit out of our midst the deceivers who spend their whole ministry preaching nothing but endlessly reworked versions of the “prosperity gospel”.
Their speciality is flying in their personal jets to overseas countries where they come back fat and bloated having sucked the money out of the desperate and the vulnerable.
Something about tying a millstone around your neck and jumping into the nearest river comes to mind. Sorry for the rant – have a great new year!!
Thanks for the comment, Jonathan. I think this message will not only find its ways amongst those who fly in their jets with large pockets, but even in the small churches who believe we need to faithfully preach a “vision for a new year.” I’m not against talking about vision and change. But, as you, I want us to consider how to be much less me-centric and much more robustly Christocentric. Happy New Year!